Accident Database

Report ID# 672

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description

On 4th of July weekend the Macomb, Michigan Daily reported that three kayak accidents occurred on the nearby Clinton River, which was running high due to recent rains. All involved inexperienced people in rented boats.

On July 2nd Frank Vanluven, 40, was horsing around with friends on a flatwater stretch of the river near Pontiac when his kayak capsized. He was not wearing a life vest, and he did not surface.

According to local paddlers posting to, all of these fatalities involved sit-on top kayaks. The river itself is Class I at best during normal summer flows, and is often too shallow to float a canoe. The Oakland, Michigan Free Press reported that the popularity of kayaking on the Clinton River has grown a lot during the past few years. Many stores near the river rent kayaks for $10 per hour. Because of changing water levels, these operations may need to develop a policy to cut off rentals when the river becomes too high. Potential renters also need to become more aware of the dangers they'll encounter when paddling rivers.

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