Paddling Raft-Up: Kayaks Stolen, Access Point Saved from Developers, Is your Trailer Safe?

Tuesday, 15 September 2009
A couple of interesting things out there recently in the news...

Kayaks Stolen, Kayaks Found
In Chesapeake Beach, MD, two kayaks were reported stolen. The very next day a police officer in the area was responding to a report of disorderly group of people. While he was there (probably giving them a lecture), he noticed two kayaks that matched the description from the day before sitting there on the beach. Two people were arrested and charged with theft.

Here is the tip for the kids out there. If you are planning on stealing kayaks, make sure you don’t take them out in public for at least a long time and when you do; don’t make so much noise that you attract the police.

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Land Saved from Housing Developers
Chain Saw Sisters SaloonPaddlers who use the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota are breathing a sigh of relief after a legendary entry point to that area has been taken over and turned into National Forest property.

The site was the home of the Chainsaw Sisters Saloon and was the jumping off point for day-trippers, snowmobilers and canoeists. It closed in 2006 and was slated to become a housing community which would have closed access to that area.

The money to purchase the land was raised by the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness for $500,000 which will be resold to the U.S. Forest Service and designated as free access.

Hopefully visitors won’t forget how close they came to losing one of the only free access points to that area.

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Flickr photo credit: shanestillwell

Pulling a Trailer or Carrying a Boat on your Roof? Make Sure it’s Secure
Here is a sad story to finish things off.

Michael Davison, 49 was in Hawaii when an accident occurred which took his life.

He was driving along a highway when a pick-up truck with a trailer loaded with canoes went by him. At that same time, the trailer broke away, crossed the intersection and into the path of Michael’s SUV. One of the canoes on the trailer crashed through the windshield and hit him. He died an hour later at the hospital from his injuries.

Michael Davison was a well gifted cook and also worked as the personal assistant to Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. He was currently the personal assistant for Nicolas Cage. He was on holidays before shooting started for Nicolas Cage’s next action film, The Green Hornet (which he just dropped out of).

I can’t stress how important it is to double and triple check your knots and chains when carrying anything on the roof of your car or on a trailer. I ran the rental department at Mountain Equipment Co-op in Toronto for several years and I figure I have tied down a 1000 canoes and kayaks cars during that time. I always gave renters a tie down lesson for the return trip because nobody knows how to do it. Over my time there, witnessed a pile of horror stories of returned boats that just only made it back in one piece due to a miracle from God. One time a canoe came back with only one strap holding the whole thing down. The renters couldn’t give me a good reason why they didn’t use the other three straps we provided them with on their way out. Scary.

Just so you know the potential consequences to not checking your gear (besides the death of another person), the police have opened an investigation into the death of Michael Davison and looking into it as a possible negligent homicide case. Now that’s scary.

Update: The canoes belonged to the Kahana Canoe Club of Maui. Neither the driver of the truck, a 36-year-old man from Lahaina, nor his four passengers were injured.

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Updated story:

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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