Firefighters load a kayak into a truck following a rescue from Semiahmoo Bay Thursday afternoon. (Christy Fox photo)

Quick-acting White Rock firefighters rescue kayaker

Distressed paddler wasn’t wearing a life-jacket

Emergency crews were dispatched to White Rock’s waterfront Thursday afternoon after a kayaker ran into trouble in Semiahmoo Bay.

City officials say the paddler was fortunate firefighters were able to locate and reach the man in short order, as he had no life-jacket and was tiring quickly.

“Certainly, the quick actions of the crew and their response to the situation led to a very positive outcome for something that could have been very tragic,” fire Chief Phil Lemire said Friday.

Fire crews were alerted at 2:15 p.m.

According to a City of White Rock news release, the kayaker was “out past the City of White Rock’s pier when his craft overturned and his attempts to right it failed.”

“As a result, the kayak began to take on water and the individual who was without a life jacket, started to swim towards shore but was becoming exhausted,” the release states.

Lemire said the man told his rescuers that he had set out from the East Beach shoreline – near the Washington Avenue Grill – but ran into rougher water around the breakwater, beyond the pier.

He “got swamped by a wave,” Lemire said.

“It started to take on water and sink, and he was on his own.”

Lemire said emergency crews were alerted by a passerby who heard the kayaker, who had started to swim for shore, yelling for help.

Once his position was pinpointed, two firefighters donned life-jackets and swam “around 500 yards” out to the man with a third life-jacket, and assisted him to shore, Lemire said.

One man who said his out-of-town guests witnessed the incident described the firefighters who swam out as heroes.

“Saved his life I’m sure,” Ian Marks said in an email to Peace Arch News.

Lemire said the kayaker was OK, “other than physically tired.” He was assessed by paramedics at the scene and released.

Lemire described the kayaker as a White Rock resident in his thirties, and said he had a chance to chat with the man while driving him home.

“I said, ‘so, lessons learned?’ He said, ‘oh yeah.’”

Lemire said the incident is a reminder of the importance of being prepared.

“A life-jacket is a requirement on any type of watercraft,” he said. “I think it’s fair enough to say he’s recognized that in this case.”

Visit us at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Emergency crews were on White Rock’s waterfront Thursday following a report of a kayaker in distress. (Christy Fox photo)

Just Posted

UPDATE: Missing Surrey showshoer found dead on Mt. Seymour

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Suspect charged after four Surrey banks were robbed in just four hours

Financial institutions in North Surrey targeted on Feb. 12

Surrey says WorkSafeBC should be in charge of asbestos abatement

City staff say WorkSafeBC has ‘greater knowledge, experience and expertise’ concerning asbestos

Surrey RCMP say 14-year-old boy stabbed at Guildford mall

Police say the boy had ‘non-life threatening’ injuries, suspect arrested

Former NHL star Fleury in Surrey for conference on child abuse

At Surrey City Hall, two-day event hosted by Sophie’s Place Child and Youth Advocacy Centre

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

‘It consumed my life’: Inside the world of gaming addiction

World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as a mental health condition

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Most Read