A rescue in the US

June 16, 2006

An incident on 4th June 2006 near Boston in the US. Here is a synopsis of the incident report from the kayakers themselves:
We launched from Pavilion Beach, between Great Neck and Little Neck in Ipswich prior to 10am on Sunday, June 4. Predicted conditions were for 12-15kt NNE winds and 4-5 ft waves. Water temperature was between 52 and 53 degrees. Tide tables showed high tide at about 6:11am, low tide at 12:17pm. The area we planned to paddle in was not far our the mouth of the Parker River estuary, in the bar area at the SE end of the Plum Island barrier island.

Between 20 to 30 minutes into the paddle and in the bar area we separately got knocked over and rolled. Conditions appeared rougher than predicted with steeper and crossing confused breaking/dumping waves, so we started to exit. I then got knocked over again, wasn’t able to roll, exited my boat, then wasn’t able to hold onto it. Almost immediately after my exit and as I was losing my boat, John was looped, then got hit again as his boat surfaced and had to exit but was able to hold on. I was able to reach him (very short distance) and we both held onto his boat. We spent the next 30 to 40 minutes attempting various self rescues – both trying to re-enter the boat and trying to swim or surf the boat out. At the end of that time as far as we could tell we had made absolutely no progress and appeared to be in the same spot we started.

At that point we called for assistance, indicating difficulty but not immediate danger. The USCG reacted to our first call and we spent the next two hours working on maintaining contact with John’s boat, periodic attempts to reenter or swim it out and working with the USCG and the Ipswich Harbor master to assist them in locating and helping us. Slightly more than two hours after our initial call (a little more the 2.5 hours in the water), we were pulled out by a USCG helicopter which took us to a local airport. Per protocol we were taken to the local hospital, where oral temperatures were taken (John was 97.2, I was 95) and we refused treatment. John was bruised, I had a small rope burn on my left hand from the deck lines and we were both sore, but other than that fine. Thanks to the Ipswich Harbor master we recovered both boats the same day.

And here is the full ‘incident report‘. This Message board is full of interesting and scary stories like this. Enough to put a sane man off the sport!

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