Swimming back to shore wasn’t exactly how the kayaking day trip was supposed to end. It was a warm, sunny day in July when Serge, his wife Carole and their youngest son, Xavier, decided to head out in their sea kayak to explore Skull Island, not too far from their cottage in southeastern New Brunswick. The water is usually relatively calm in the bay and warm, perfect for kayaking.
 
The family has been kayaking for 4 years, although this was their first time on Skull Island. Their trip to the small island was uneventful and they enjoyed exploring the area.
 
Returning home to the cottage was a different story. The wind had gotten stronger and the water was quite choppy. The kayak was hitting the waves and taking on water.
 
Xavier standing infront of water with lifejacket onWe weren't halfway back when the kayak had too much water and started sinking. We managed to jump away and had no other choice but to swim ashore. Wearing our lifejackets, we didn't panic. We knew it would take a while, but we knew we could do it,” explains Serge. Xavier, age 10, had just passed his Red Cross Swim level 10, and Serge knew he was a stronger swimmer than his parents. It took the family over 45 minutes, but they did safely make it to shore. 
Later that afternoon, they were able to retrieve the kayak still floating in the middle of the bay with the help of a neighbour with a jet ski.
 
Afterwards, Serge recounted his experience on Facebook, ending with a simple message to friends and family: “always wear your lifejacket.” We couldn’t agree more! Lifejackets and personal flotation devices (PFDs) help keep your chin above water should you unexpectedly find yourself in the water. 
 
Red Cross Swim programs not only teach people of all ages how to become a stronger swimmer, they also educate people on how to prepare, stay safe and survive aquatic adventures.
                                                                                                                                                        Xavier at Skull Island from that day
Contact your nearest pool to sign up for Red Cross Swim programs. It’s never too late to learn or to become a stronger swimmer, particularly for people who enjoy other water sports.
 
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