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

Surrey Students NOW slate plans SOGI info session

Event aims to to ‘address concerns and misinformation about the resource being used in our schools’

Surrey First vows to create ‘Mayor’s Youth Council’ if elected

Youth ages 16 to 24 would ‘weigh in’ on decisions regarding everything from affordable housing and transit, to recreation programs and public safety

Another Surrey mayoral candidate wants to ‘pause’ LRT plans

Hayne and his Integrity Now team join other candidates who aren’t sold on the city’s light rail plans

Teen stabbed at Surrey’s Unwin Park

17 year old was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

Cloverdale CHAMP celebrates War Amps on its 100th anniversary

Child Amputee Program provides financial and peer support

Ottawa area residents take stock of tornado rubble as Ford tours the ruins

A tornado on Friday afternoon tore roofs off of homes, overturned cars and felled power lines in the Ottawa community of Dunrobin and in Gatineau, Que.

Cap rent increases at inflation rate, B.C. task force recommends

MLAs say drop annual increase that would allow 4.5% rise next year

School, church and old mining site make Heritage BC’s 1st ever ‘watch list”

The list includes sites in need of protection to maintain B.C.’s culture and history

5 to start your day

Maple Ridge students send books to fire-destroyed school, teen stabbed in Surrey park and more

Yowza! Twerk, emoji and facepalm are added to Scrabble dictionary, OK?

Merriam-Webster has announced 300 new words have been added to the spelling game

LGBTQ activists, allies in Victoria counter anti-SOGI protest with rally of their own

Lower Mainland activists plan to protest SOGI on legislature lawn, Sept. 29

Three people attacked on Queensborough Bridge

Man in custody following incident occurred Sunday

Cities make power play for new fiscal order with eye to 2019 federal election

Trudeau ordered Champagne to talk with provinces and territories about ways to “address the timeliness of the flow of funds” to projects.

Trudeau arrives at United Nations, hoping to re-establish Canada on world stage

Trudeau is beginning his day at the opening of the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, where he’s scheduled to deliver brief remarks later this afternoon.

Most Read