Workers at the store where missing kayakers rented gear speaks out on boater safety

Published 07/11 2014 05:26PM

Updated 07/11 2014 07:44PM

FISH CREEK, Wis. (WFRV)-- Weather and water conditions on the bay can change rapidly.  Boaters should take warn.

“You’ve just got to be careful," said Rick Meyer, a frequent kayaker.

Even when going out for a short trip Meyer said he brings extra items on board so he's prepared in case something goes wrong.

“I have a cell phone in a zip lock water proof bag," he said.

That’s something the missing kayakers didn’t have. 

When they didn’t return their rented gear to Nicolet Beach Rental at Peninsula State Park yesterday—workers notified the authorities.

Douglas Smrz, a sailing instructor and rental assistant at the store, said, “We have a small grace period we sometimes allow people with but we always have people give us the most amount of time they might want to be back that way we can sort of judge if they haven’t come back, we can give them a refund or make sure everyone is okay.” 

Customers are required to go out with lifejackets and employees frequently monitor the weather. 

Boaters are advised to always have a plan in case something goes wrong.

“We advise doing a float plan.  Say you’re going to be gone for four hours fishing, it’s good to let someone know and then if you’re not back within 5 hours they know okay something might be wrong," said Petty Officer Alex Weiss with the U.S. Coast Guard.

If you are stranded in the open waters, the U.S. Coast Guard recommends tying yourself to the people you’re traveling with or if you’re alone tie yourself to a buoy so you’re easier to find.

That’s how the  Canadian Coast Guard spotted the kayakers from their plane.

It gives us a bigger area to search and a bigger item to search for, he said.

Petty Officer Weiss also recommends bringing food and clothing on board.

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