At first glance I was thinking the same way but after further reflection I started to recall some of the folks I've come across at the put-in who were about to launch with little better than a pool toy for a boat and inadequate (if any at all) PFDs, putting their loved ones at great risk. It seems to me that we, the equipped and experienced river rat type might be the only help these people get when their day goes bad.
On the other hand, I have also been witness to solid boaters who after a beat down, seemed incapable of helping themselves out of the bad place they were in. I suppose the larger point of the article is the sooner a potential rescuer identifies the dire situation, the sooner a rescue effort can be mounted. Like the story says, once the victim is in trouble, the time to help could be very short indeed.