Basil, thanks for the story. Seems like a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking here. I've never boated with anyone who brought a radio. I can't imagine many skiers take radios with. I've never been with anyone who has. There are still tons of posts on CAIC of people who don't even have avy beacons. I've only boated one time with someone who had a spot beacon (which is now on my list of things to consider buying).
Calling search and rescue definitely wasn't the wrong choice to make. I can imagine many people would be hard pressed to sit in a hut while their friend was out alone and presumed lost.
We typically assume we can travel by sight/known landmarks, but weather can change really fast leaving you unable to see much of anything. You would think more people would bring a GPS with, but few if any do.
All that matters is you are all safe, you were out there getting after it, and we all learned a bit thanks to you sharing your story. Maybe 1 person of the hundreds who will read this, will actually buy a radio...or two so they can give one to their friend.