Subject 18's Experience

Katelyn M. – Paddler

Katelyn is a long-time motorboat ‘passenger’ and first-time paddler. Growing up, her family owned a little speedboat, and they really emphasized to her the importance of lifejackets and water safety. “They always made sure I was wearing a lifejacket when I was around water. Not just on the boats, but on the docks too.” She noticed however, with the adults around her, it was more of a ‘do as I say and not as I do’ rule.

Watch Katelyn M. go through the experiences below.

Stand-Up Paddleboard
Fishing Boat
Cold Water Tank
Warm Water Tank

As she grew older, and more confident with her swimming skills, her habits slowly changed on powerboats from always wearing a lifejacket to just having it on the boat.

Katelyn started kayaking about a year ago, and she says, “I always wear my lifejacket when I’m out paddling.”

When Katelyn was learning how to kayak on Lake Ontario, she had to fall out of the kayak on purpose as part of her training. She says the water was very cold for the middle of summer and even though she was wearing her lifejacket and mentally prepared and ready to fall in, she was still shocked. “All of a sudden, you’re underwater and you feel it everywhere. My nervous system was so heightened, and everything felt so cold. It was surprising and also a little scary!”

“I always wear my lifejacket when I’m out paddling.”

Katelyn felt the Virtual Reality (VR) experiences were very realistic and she was quite startled and shocked when she unexpectedly fell. “That’s the thing, you never know when you're going to have an accident on the water. It's very unpredictable. It's like, ‘Is it a wave? Is it another boat?’ And you don't always see your surroundings, especially if you're doing something else.”

“That’s the thing, you never know when you're going to have an accident on the water. It's very unpredictable.”

For Katelyn, her experience of falling unexpectedly into the dunk tanks was very startling. “You kind of have an idea that you’re going to go in, but it can happen at any moment, but you don’t know when. It's like that same anticipation if you're waiting for toast to pop. You know it's going to happen, but still somehow it startles you.”

After going through all of the experiences, Katelyn says, “It was definitely an eye-opening experience. It just reinforces the need for lifejackets and water safety. I don't think I realized just how important wearing a lifejacket would be in situations like these with unexpected falls. I was very much caught off guard and my senses were totally scrambled. I don't know if I would have fared quite so well if I were in the wild and not in a controlled space like this.”

“Wearing a life jacket would definitely offer added safety so that I would feel confident on the water and not have to worry as much.”