How Owning a Paddle Company (Probably) Saved My Life

How Owning a Paddle Company (Probably) Saved My Life

On mother’s day I posted a picture of my Mom and I canoeing in the Haliburton region. This picture was taken sometime in the nineties, and I noticed – while I was looking for a suitable photo to post for this mother’s day – that the picture of my Mom and I was eerily similar to most of our photos of past canoe and camping trips. And I thought about how different those pictures would be – if taken now – after owning Badger® Paddles.

Even though I love this picture – there is something missing.

When I started Badger® Paddles a few years 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.

Mike in his younger days. Again, something is missing.

Thus day after day, I would watch for stories about paddling, canoeing, and kayaking. When I would come upon something I felt would be interesting or entertaining to our audience, I would share it via our social media network on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or even this very blog.

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. No. They 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 the those with an abundance of knowledge and experience were victims of drowning. And 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.

Nothing missing from this picture!

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 husband. 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.

Fiona paddling on a sunny September day wearing her PFD.
Picture taken by Sean Smith of

Now I make sure to wear a life jacket when ever I paddle. A practice that could quite possible save my life one day in the future. I will wear one even on a nice day without any rough weather. I know too much not to after everything I have read and seen and paid attention to. And while it is not always the most comfortable, 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 bring a PFD along but would rarely actually wear one. Having a paddle company has definitely opened my eyes to the dangers of that habit. 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.


1 Comment
  • Craig Cole
    Posted at 17:42h, 22 May

    Great article and I totally agree!! This is the first year that I've decided to wear a PFD every time on the water because of having my own canoe guide company it really opened my eyes.