16 May How Owning a Paddle Company (Probably) Saved My Life
One mother’s day a while back, I posted a picture of my Mom and I canoeing in the Haliburton region. This picture was taken sometime in the nineties.
What I noticed – while I was looking for a suitable photo to post for this special occasion – was the picture of my Mom and me was eerily similar to most of the photos of our past canoe and camping trips.
And I thought about how different those pictures would be – if taken now – after owning Badger Paddles.
When I formed Badger over a decade ago with my husband, Mike, the business brought many challenges to our lives – as well as some wonderful connections with some really amazing people.
Badger also allowed me an excuse to research and read paddling stories and blogs from around the world. (One of my most favourite past times). In doing so, I was researching and looking for great content to share with our friends, customers, and followers.
But what I didn’t anticipate was that, because of Badger Paddles and because of that research, that one day I would gain a knowledge that could quite possibly save my life in the future.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that a great number of canoeing stories that hit the main stream media are not feel-good stories. Nope, not at all. In fact many are about drowning.
Cold water deaths and other fatal drowning accidents were a definite reoccurring theme in the news. So was the fact the majority of these drowning victims were NOT wearing a PFD or life jacket.
It didn’t matter how much experience one had in a canoe or how well one could swim. Even those with an abundance of knowledge and experience were victims of drowning.
Time and time again, there was even another recurring theme: If the victims had been wearing their PFD, their lives very well could have been saved.
I repeat. Time and time again, the recurring theme was: If the victims had been wearing their PFD, their lives very well could have been saved.
Interestingly enough, I found you can only become aware of so many of these stories before you start to see yourself in them. Or your dad or your spouse… Or even your child. The words “If they had been wearing their life-jackets, they would have survived.”, became common place in the stories I was researching. After a while, it started echoing in my head when I would get near a canoe.
I now realize that wearing my PFD is a choice that could mean the difference between life and death in an any sort of water incident.
These days I make sure to wear a life jacket or PFD whenever I paddle. A practice that could quite possible save my life one fateful day in the future. I’ve even made it a practice to wear one on a nice day, without any rough weather. I know too much not to after everything I have read, seen and paid attention to.
I know it is not always the most comfortable, but I now realize that wearing my PFD is a choice that could mean the difference between life and death in an any sort of water incident.
Before I had Badger Paddles in my life, I was one of the many who would bring a PFD along to sit or kneel on but would rarely wear it. Having a canoe paddle company has definitely opened my eyes to the dangers of that habit. And no, it is NOT enough to bring it with you. You have to put it on. It could save your life. If you don’t believe me – just keep your eye on the news.
Original article written in 2012 by Fiona Westner-Ramsay (Updated for 2023)