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Family of missing MN kayaker seek to prevent future tragedies in Florida

The search for David Schink was called off after 49 hours.

The family of a Minnesota man who went missing while kayaking off the coast of Florida is raising money to help prevent similar tragedies in the future. 

David Schink, 61, and his wife were on vacation in Destin, Florida, and on Feb. 13, he went kayaking in the ocean but didn't return. 

The U.S. Coast Guard began to search, finding Schink's kayak and half a paddle on Feb. 14. And on Feb. 15, after 49 hours, the U.S. Coast Guard called off the search.

Now, Schink's family has launched a Go Fund Me hoping to raise $20,000 for the David Schink Memorial Fund. 

The primary goal of the memorial fund is to "prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening again," the page says.

"David was a seasoned professional on the water and had well [over] a decade of experience, if a tragedy like this can happen to him, it can happen to anyone," the page says.

The money raised will go toward educational and preventative measures that include: installing surveillance cameras on the beachfront near where Schink went missing, which would help the Coast Guard narrow search areas and speed up response time; provide kayak manufacturers with safety literature that they'd include with every kayak purchase; and erecting signs near waterways in Destin, Florida, with safety tips and/or lists of what to bring with you in case of an emergency.

The page says the memorial fund would help the Schinks raise awareness of possible life-saving ideas, such as an "Aqua Alert" emergency system implemented that's similar to an Amber Alert but would send alerts to people's phones about missing boaters or unsafe water conditions. 

The Schinks also think boats should be equipped or sold with reflective and IR tape so rescue crews can easily see the watercraft. 

"While some of this may seem obvious, David was no stranger to the water and would be considered an expert as both a swimmer and an operator of water vessels. Despite all of this, he still made some of these mistakes," the page says. 

The page adds:

"While we may never know what happened to him, it is possible that even one of these suggested changes could have saved his life. We truly believe these changes will go a long way not just in the way search and rescue operations are ran, but how the public approach their own safety before they hit the water."

Thomas Schink, of Champlin, who is David Schink's son, started the Go Fund Me page this week. As of Tuesday morning, it had raised more than $3,600. 

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