Charles Darwin at a green chalkboard.

2002 Darwin Awards

Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.

I Can't Swim!
2002 Darwin Award Winner
Unconfirmed by Darwin

This cautionary tale was written by a Slush Pile moderator!

"Talk about being out of one's depth..."

(1 July 2002, Canada) The population of Thunder Bay, a beautiful city located on the shores of Lake Superior, was decreased by one Darwin Award candidate over the long Canada Day weekend. The story takes place on Obonga Lake, 100 miles north of Thunder Bay.

The holiday weekend was a scorcher, with temperatures in the high 90's. Our candidate went for a cooling boat ride with his wife and children, but the cool breeze did not suffice, so he turned off the motor and dove into the lake.

Diving in Canada's northern lakes is risky. During the summer, a thin surface layer of warmer water covers the colder depths. Diving into one of these thermoclines can result in paralysis when you hit the cold water a few feet below the surface. But that's not what happened to our diver.

His first error was more basic: He was unable to swim, and wasn't wearing a life jacket, the logical attire of a boating non-swimmer.

His second error was neglecting to consider the effect of the wind, which was not only pushing the boat away from him, but also foiling efforts to throw him a life preserver, which is buoyant in water, and necessarily lightweight.

And his third error was in not teaching his wife to pilot the boat, so she was unable to start the engine, drive over, and rescue him.

The people in the boat waved their arms towards shore in a vain bid for help -- and that's where the Darwin candidate's fourth and final error became significant. He had neglected to provide his boat with the required boating safety kit, containing a 15 meter buoyant line, an approved Personal Flotation Device for each person on board, and a loud signaling device such as a pea-less whistle.

While one's heart goes out to his wife and children, the rest of us would have seen it coming when he dove in. Although he already had several children, he certainly won't be adding any more tadpoles to the gene pool.

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Submitted by: dmr
Reference: Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal

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