Grand Traverse Crews Find Missing Kayaker Safe; Incident Highlights Dangerous River Currents

A leisurely kayak trip turned terrifying Tuesday afternoon on the Boardman River in Grand Traverse County.

Crews spent part of the afternoon looking for a kayaker who went missing, His empty kayak was found but the occupant was not.

After searching in the water and on shore, he was found safe. According to the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office, his watercraft had capsized and he was able to get out and onto shore.

This incident is one of four calls to the Boardman River in the past month. Grand Traverse County Dispatch says they’ve responded to nine water emergencies in July alone.

The missing kayaker was wearing a helmet and life jacket. His sister who was kayaking with him is just thankful that he was okay.

“He was behind us and we were just going, and we looked back, and we didn’t see him,” said Emily Aucremanne. “As time went on, I got a lot more nervous, thinking kind of the worst had happened. Thank God it didn’t.”

Water levels in the Great Lakes have reached or exceeded record highs this summer, and rivers are also very high. Those levels are creating dangerous currents and speeds for people recreating.

The Traverse City Fire Department wants to remind people to be extremely cautious on the water, especially this year.

“Anytime you’re on water, be careful. Know how to swim wear a life jacket,” said Captain Chad Rueckert.

He says that if you get caught in a current remember to flip-float-follow.

“Flip over on your back. Float and then follow the safest way out of the current,” said Captain Rueckert.