K so I was there...And mistakes were made.
Overall it was a bit of an eye opener. We have practiced in these waters for nearly a decade, and perhaps gotten complacent about the risks associated with the sport. However the attention this has received is a bit much.
The paddling locale (with the ferry traffic) is not uncommon. Under normal conditions we maintain a safe distance, and the ferry wash we encounter is settled from big waves to mere rollers by the time it reaches us (our boat handles this easily). In this case the steersperson misjudged the distance. By the time he had realized his mistake, he had no choice but to take them head on (which swamped the boat). It was poor risk assessment, pure and simple.
Our biggest mistake was PFDs. We all carry them, but when doing difficult drills and/or race pieces they are restrictive, and many choose to place them at their feet. That night everyone had a PFD save for one person who had unnoticed, left it in her car.
I agree with the 'bubblewrap' arguments in this thread, and that personal safety can go too far.. But a word of warning... Donning a PFD while in the water is more difficult than one might imagine. Needless to say we have made adjustment our safety focus.
I am a little irked about how the story was spun however.
Every day we see motorized small craft venture out beyond the protection of Nanaimo Harbour, life jackets on board but not worn. Many of these small craft are significantly smaller and lighter than our DB, but there seems to be no issues there at all