A 50-year-old man is lucky to be alive after his kayak capsized near Discovery Island, leaving him stranded and in the water for more than three hours Monday night.
The man was moderately hypothermic when he was pulled from the water at 8:30 p.m. by volunteers from Royal Canadian Marine-Search and Rescue Station 33 Oak Bay. He was brought to shore and transferred to B.C. Ambulance.
Oak Bay Sea Rescue spokesman Kim Bentzon said it’s not common for someone to survive for more than three hours in the water at this time of year. He said the water temperature is about 8 C and the air temperature had dropped to 2 C.
“It comes down to the temperature of the water and body mass as to how long a person can survive in the water,” he said. “It’s also a case of mind over matter sometimes, driven by how much a person wants to live.”
The man was wearing multiple layers of clothing, a windbreaker and personal flotation device when he was found. He had also lashed himself to the kayak.
Bentzon said the boat was not “ocean-going at all” because it was an open, sit-on style. It also had no emergency signalling equipment.
Four vessels from Oak Bay Sea Rescue and a Canadian Coast Guard vessel were dispatched at 5:30 p.m. after the rental kayak company reported the man missing. He had gone paddling earlier in the day.
Bentzon added kayakers should prepare for such emergencies by carrying flares, a whistle or some kind of sounding device and a cell phone.