Two kayakers die after capsizing off Door County

SEVASTOPOL, Wis. (WBAY) - Two kayakers died after they capsized off the shore of Door County late Friday morning.

A ranger tells Action 2 News the kayakers were reported in trouble at Cave Point County Park in Sevastopol. That's about 12 miles northeast of Sturgeon Bay.

The sheriff's office says the Jacksonport Fire Department went out in a boat and found the men about 100 yards off shore. Neither of them had a flotation device. Both were unresponsive when they were brought aboard a U.S. Coast Guard boat, where the crew began CPR.

The sheriff's office says it was notified at 2 p.m. that both men were declared dead.

One was a 29-year-old man from Sturgeon Bay, the other a 21-year-old man from Clintonville. Their names aren't being released yet, so their families can be notified.

The sheriff's office says the water in Lake Michigan was 43 degrees.

The Door County Sheriff's Office, Jacksonport and Sturgeon Bay fire departments, U.S. Coast Guard, Wisconsin DNR, Sturgeon Bay police and Door County EMS all responded to the call.

Tim Pfliegr, who owns the Door County Adventure Center said, "I look at what the weather's doing and what it will be doing shortly- so that's wave and wind condition. You can see that today. What's the water temperature? Can I paddle in the conditions? Can I paddle out of the conditions if they change? And do I have the appropriate gear with me? I am surprised that we still have people who paddle these waters without personal flotation devices."

The Coast Guard issued a statement Friday evening saying in part:

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of Lake Michigan. The Coast Guard strongly urges mariners to remember:

• Always wear a lifejacket. A life jacket can keep you afloat and dramatically increase your chances of survival if you fall in. It also allows a person to float with a minimum of energy expended and allows the person to assume the Heat Escape Lessening Position (H.E.L.P.) – bringing the knees close to the chest and holding them in place by wrapping the arms around the shin portions of the legs.

• Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. The water temperature remains dangerously low. Cold water drains a body’s heat dramatically faster than cold air.

• Great Lakes weather is unpredictable and dangerous, especially during seasonal transitions. Always check and monitor the marine weather forecast before any trip out onto the lake

• Carry all required and recommended safety gear, such as visual distress signals and a sound producing device. Carry visual distress signals and a quality whistle in the pockets of the life jacket being worn so it’s close at hand in an emergency.

• The Coast Guard recommends carrying a registered Personal Locator Beacon in addition to a VHF-FM marine radio, to alert the Coast Guard and local safety agencies of potential distress. Consider a waterproof hand-held model that you can keep with you.

• Always notify family and friends where you are going and when you expect to be back – and stick to the plan. If plans unexpectedly change, notify them immediately