Customer Stories

Salus’ Abacus Saves A Life

We are grateful for the sharing of this personal story by a father who almost lost his son.  This letter has personally touched every employees’ heart. It makes us pause to reflect our reponsiblity to ensure top design and stringent quality control measures. We are grateful to be sharing this story with you. Following is a copy of the letter we received and attached are photos of the tour both father and son took of Salus.

Douglas told the incredible story as to how the his son was rescued by a Canadian Armed Forces helicopter after 13 hours when two miles off shore in the waters of Lake Huron.

Abacus saves life story

Staff were delighted to meet Mike, Douglas and Dana.

How ironic…a local company’s product (we live in Waterloo) saved my son’s life Wednesday morning! You may or may not have heard in the news in the last few days of a missing kayaker who was saved in Lake Huron… that was my son and he was wearing your Abacus sailing PFD!

He was kayaking in the evening when a large wave came up and swamped his kayak and sending him into the water. He wasn’t able to bailout the swamped kayak so he held on to the overturned boat and tried kicking to shore. The currents were very strong and took him over two miles out from shore. He was reported missing at 10:30pm Tuesday evening and he was found by a Canadian Armed Forces search and rescue plane which directed a Search and Rescue helicopter to his location 7am the next morning. Mike was taken to hospital where he was treated for hypothermia along with some cuts and minor abrasions. He is now doing well and will soon be fully recovered. I don’t like to think about how this situation might have turned out had Mike not been wearing a quality PFD; Mike is not a good swimmer and the cold conditions would make normal swimming next to impossible over time.

Thank-you…I still have my son with me today because of your quality product! ~ Douglas Balch


Introducing Salus PFDs to the Inuit in  Kangiqsualujjuaq – Ungava Bay

Salus’ Antigua Saves A Life

We would like to share an email we received from a sailor on October 2011. This story is one that has since carved it’s message into the heart of every employee. The story stresses the importance of not only having PFDs aboard your boat, but more significantly, the reason you should wear your vest. Following is Brian’s first-hand account of what occurred that dreadful night:

I bought my first Antigua ten years ago.

There is much more to my tragic story and I am still recovering from my head injuries.  My friend who was driving was not so lucky, he lost his life.

My friend and I were in an inflatable dinghy late at night, I was the passenger at the starboard bow, the driver was handling the boat from the port stern.  The weather was overcast, blustery and there was no moon.  We were working our way around  the break wall on the east end of Toronto Island when it happened.  I have no recollection of what happened but the police think we hit the wall near the north out board end of it.  By my injuries, it appears we ran into the wall with the starboard side of the boat.  I was thrown forward hitting the wall with my right side and was probably bounced back into the water.  My friend was slingshot the extra distance and suffered much more massive head damage and it is estimated he died of drowning within moments, he was not wearing any PDF gear.

When I came to I was stretched out vertically clinging to the five foot high break wall about half way down the length of it.  I don’t know how I got there.  I had to work my way hand over hand along the wall until I could find a place where I could drag myself up onto it.  I then fell a couple of times on the rough concrete trying to get my balance.  When I realized I couldn’t walk I laid down half under some brush trees and half on the concrete.  I did this a couple of times and the brush twigs grabbed and poked my coat as I was moving around.  Besides the pain of my head and right side injuries, hypothermia was setting in and the coat seems to have helped keep that at bay also perhaps acting like a wet suit would.

The coat was new this year, my ten year old Antigua has been relegated to a work jacket.  What is surprising about the coat and its material is that it didn’t  suffer any damage from all the crawling and climbing.  No tares, no scuffing, no abrasions and only a hint of dirt on the coat.  First class material as far as I am concerned.

I only wish my friend had one on.

…Your gear is top of the line you have every reason to be proud of it.  I know you will continue the good work.

Thank you again for the gear that saved my life.

Brian L.