Certified instructor shares safety tips after kayaker found dead

Posted at 6:28 PM, Apr 10, 2017

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A tragic accident along Southwest Florida's coast is renewing calls for safety.

The body of a missing kayaker was found Sunday near Sanibel Causeway in Lee County. The victim, 29-year old Justin Furman, was camping at Punta Rassa with friends when he decided to kayak and fish along the beach but never returned. Furman reportedly did not have a life jacket, cell phone or emergency equipment with him.

Four In Your Corner spoke with local certified instructors at Gulf Coast Kayakabout safety tips to keep your family safe.

"It's heartbreaking," Jim Knehaus, a certified instructor said. "Going out by yourself is a risk. Minimizing risk is important."

Knehaus says a life jacket is the most important item to take on a trip, followed by a fully charged cell phone in a water-proof case and a first aid kit.

"Going with a partner is important too," Knehaus said. "You should always bring a first aid kid. You should have water to stay hydrated. Snacks are also good because you may find you need a little burst of energy and that might help you get back comfortably.

Knehaus strongly suggests taking a class before your kayaking excursion.

"During a class you learn how to read a tide and read the wind. You learn how to use those forces of nature to their advantage for a more enjoyable trip," he said.