Police are reminding people to always have a buddy with them when venturing into the waters around Delta — a decision that potentially saved the life of a hypothermic paddleboarder this past weekend.
Following months of COVID-19 related restrictions and closures, many people have taken up paddleboarding as a way to get outside and enjoy the summer weather. However, police warn, the sport is not without its risks.
“Weather conditions can change quickly, even in shallow waters,”Insp. Ciaran Feenan, head of the DPD’s patrol section, said in a press release. “We definitely advise going out with a companion, and having a phone in a waterproof case.”
Around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29, Delta police received a call about a missing paddleboarder at Centennial Beach. The wind had apparently taken the paddleboarder far from the beach and her companion hadn’t seen her for over 40 minutes.
About 10 minutes later, the caller phoned back to say he’d found his friend, but that she had become extremely cold and unable to continue on her own. Police note that at the time the tide was “quite far out.”
“Learning of her plight, our officers made a two-kilometre trek out in the shallow waters of Boundary Bay, locating the duo around 12:20 p.m.,” Feenan said. “The paddle boarder’s condition was deteriorating and she was unable to walk, so police started carrying her back to shore as the tide was coming in.”
Feenan said when the officers were about one kilometre from shore, two firefighters came out to assist. The firefighters wrapped the paddleboarder in thermal blankets then took turns with police carrying the woman safely back to shore.
The woman was then taken to hospital, and police calling to follow up were assured she is doing much better.