A life jacket is being credited with saving a man’s life after his kayak overturned on Lake Belton Tuesday and he was carried further from shore by high winds.

Thomas Pechal with Temple Fire & Rescue said Tuesday that winds moved water over the kayak, causing it to flip shortly before 1:25 PM. A visitor to Temple Lake Park spotted the kayaker in distress and dialed 911.

The kayaker was holding onto his boat about 250 yards from shore and the wind was blowing him further away from land when rescue crews arrived. A boat from Morgan’s Point Volunteer Fire Department rescued the man, who had been in the water for roughly an hour.

Temple Fire paramedics treated the kayaker for mild hypothermia at the scene, and he refused an offer of medical transport. His kayak was retrieved and returned.

Pechal and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offered the following safety tips:

  • Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or life jacket when on or around water
  • Keep a whistle attached to your life jacket to call for help, if needed
  • Monitor weather and water conditions
  • File a float plan with family or friends
  • Dress warmly for water temperature
  • If you fall in the water, while wearing your life jacket, draw your knees and arms together into the HELP (Heat Escape Lessening Posture) position

In June of 2016, heavy rains caused flooding across Central Texas. We captured a kayaker being pulled under rushing water in Nolan Creek. Although he was wearing a life jacket and it helped save his life, it was still a dangerous situation and could have ended in tragedy. Please remember to be safe and smart when enjoying our awesome lakes, creeks, and rivers.

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