Getting out on the lakes around Yellowknife might as well be as popular as snowmobiling. I assume the majority of us who get out boating, canoeing, or kayaking do it because we want to enjoy life and get out from being stuck in front of the TV.
That being said there are precautions that we must all remember while going out on the lakes. Things can go wrong, quickly, and we must be ready for any scenario. Take Saturday for example, we had launched our boat at the Giant Mine Boat Launch for the first time this year and just planning on trolling around the bay. That changed quickly when, on our way into Back Bay, we saw 3 people bobbing in the water and a canoe floating upside down. It was obvious something was wrong as none of them were moving to make any effort to flip the canoe over again. As we approached we found 3 cold looking people and a canoe, which was sitting upright filled to the brim with water. These people had only been bobbing in the water for a couple of minutes and were probably a little “buzzed”. Thankfully they had enough brains to wear lifejackets. As we took them and their canoe back to the dock, I don’t think they quite realized how lucky they were we showed up. Even though they said they were fine, another couple of minutes in the water of Great Slave Lake and they very well could have been hypothermic. This annoyed me, because they just brushed it off and started joking and cursing about how they lost their beer. I can only hope they have learned something from this experience.
A word of caution to all other boaters, make sure to always where a lifejacket. Not just your kids, you as well. You will be no good to your kids when you’re dead in the water. Always tell others where you are going and when you plan to be back. Carry the proper First Air and Survival Kits with you at all times and Stay Warm.