Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Boating over “the bar?” Harrowing account of a Columbia River tragedy

FISHING — “Even as a retired cop, Lonn Sweeney didn't expect to save anyone's life June 20 when he piloted his 24-foot Duckworth ocean hardtop, Teresa D, over the Columbia River bar, but he was certainly prepared for it,” writes Oregon outdoor scribe Bill Monroe in a story of tragedy and lessons learned.

  • The story is a must-read for anyone planning to pilot a a fishing boat over the infamous rough water caused by the surge of the Columbia River meeting the tides of the Pacific Ocean.

“And at least some of the five survivors from a capsizing on the world's trademark-for-treachery ocean crossing owe their lives to his caution – a lesson learned on the cusp of a predicted stellar coastwide ocean salmon season and record run past Buoy 10,” Monroe reported.

Lt. Scott McGrew, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard station at Cape Disappointment, said the accident is under investigation. He credited Sweeney and his crew with saving lives before his 47-footers could get to the scene.

Court say crashing into anchored boat isn’t illegal; county appeals

BOATING — Idaho boaters may want to upgrade their vessels to the equivalent of old Iron Sides if a court ruling on negligent boat driving holds.

Bonner County is appealing a North Idaho magistrate court judge’s ruling that the state’s statute regarding the negligent operation of a vessel is unconstitutionally vague.

That's good news for the boaters who crashed into anchored boats at Priest Lake last summer.

Read on for details from the Associated Press.

Lawsuit filed in 2012 student kayaking death on Rock Lake

WATER SPORTS — A city parks instructor manual appears to ban city-sponsored kayak trips in the kind of weather that led to a chaotic and deadly excursion organized by Gonzaga University and sponsored by the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, according to a lawsuit filed Monday. 

Christopher Gormley, 18, died from hypothermia after his kayak tipped in the frigid waters of Rock Lake on a notably windy day during the spring break trip on April 1, 2012.

Kettle River “tubing” deaths senseless

RIVERS — A tragic season on the region's rivers seems to have no end.

See this sobering video report about floats — in their 70s no less — who dropped their guard, misjudged the power of the Kettle  River last week, and went over the falls near Grand Forks.

No lifejackets — as we've reported in almost every case of a drowning this year.

Insight offered on Rock Lake kayaking tragedy comments

PADDLING — Today's S-R news story with details about the Gonzaga University student who died on an April 1 kayaking trip at Rock Lake was balanced by two men willing to step forward and talk about safety issues involved with cold-weather/water paddling.

No one involved with the accident would speak on the record for one reason or another, but Jerry Cessaratto and Dennis Andrew of the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club allowed me to interview them on the protocols for a group paddling trip in cold conditions.

Take the 10 minutes required to view the video on cold-water immersion (above), Andrew suggests.

My editor had to shorten the newspaper story to fit the layout puzzle in the paper. In doing so, it may have left the edge that Andrew was criticizing the city parks trip leaders. While many people will do so, Andrew was not criticizing, he was analyzing and offering the perspective of what he teaches in the annual three-session sea-kayaking class he coordinates in late June.

Click “continue reading” below for the unedited ending my story published today. Keep in mind that even this was boiled down from two 15-minute interviews and does not include their comments on the need for outdoor groups to:

  • Check weather reports.
  • Assess the situation in the field
  • Assess the gear and experience of everyone on the trip.
  • Factor in remoteness and conditions.
  • Have a contingency plan.
  • Stay together
  • Have a toolbox of options for emergency and rescue.