4 kayakers rescued from Little Tybee Island

At least four men were rescued Saturday afternoon after they were stranded on Tybee Island in 30 mph winds and 8-foot waves, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Sunday via social media. The men, who were camping overnight Friday on the island, were running out of food and water supplies and were unable to get back to the mainland on their kayaks, the Coast Guard said in a press release Sunday. A helicopter crew transferred all four men to a boat ramp on the south side of the island. The aircrew conducted three landings to get the kayakers to the mainland, according to the rescue’s flight mechanic, Dylan Melton.

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I’m glad everyone was rescued safely. I hope that learnings were taken from the experience for their future endeavors to not have a repeat experience.

I’ll get the popcorn!


Guessing 30 mph winds would have been forecast sufficiently in advance. More head scratching to me is they camped there Friday and running low on food and water by the following afternoon?

Just me but I always have more than I think I’ll need. I know I can go without eating for a couple days too. I wonder how long before the wind and seas were expected to subside and they might have been able to return without rescue. (armchair speculating without sufficient facts.) Also just me but I know I wouldn’t engage SAR unless it was dire. I’d hate to put others in harm’s way because I ran out of snacks.

Honey, we ran out of beer and pork rinds! Send the CG to come get us!


Oh that made me laugh.

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I agree the paddlers appeared to have been less than prepared. Having paddled from Tybee to LT, I know it can be as short as 1/4 mile crossing depending on launch and landings. I also know that inlet can get textured with tide and wind very quickly. Just glad to know it was not a recovery mission.

I’m always curious about the back stories to such events. Wonder if they’ll blame the wife who called the Coasties.


I have had unplanned extended visits too. Even with a weather radio sometimes the forecasts are just off. We can probably all do without food unless a medical condition requires it on schedule.

Water is the biggest issue. I was stuck with another kayaker that had no water. He had brought some and accidentally kicked it over into the sand. I doubt that was the scenario in this case! I suspect from my keyboard that there was insufficient beer or someone was going to be in trouble at work.
Kudos to the CG. I assume that the kayakers were embarrassed. I know I would be!

Just as a matter of observation, we shared a very similar weather report here in Charleston, SC, 75 miles up the coast. We had a gale warning on Saturday, which was definitely part of the forecast Friday morning. I went to the beach Saturday, but didn’t launch. The wind was offshore, and they were reporting 30 to 35 knots gusting to 45. The seas gradually flattened all day and during the night, and today the surf report for both locations was 1 ft. By sunrise the wind was calm. I got back from a 12 mile ocean paddle up and back the length of Folly Island a couple of hours ago.
The other factor for Charleston would be that it rained Friday night and Saturday morning, and the temperatures got down below freezing last night in both Charleston and Savannah. That too was part of the forecast. But if they were not prepared for wind - and weren’t prepared with a tent that could withstand that kind of wind out in the open, and didn’t stay dry, then hypothermia Saturday night could have become a very real danger.

I mostly kayak on our large local lake. So if I get stranded, my spouse can get to me by road and deliver the beer and pork rinds. The ocean is significantly more dangerous.

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It’s been more than 20 years since I was there but couldn’t they tow their boats to a leeward channel and almost walk home?

I had a bit of a close call out there a few years ago myself.

I had a trip scheduled to attend events in Ocean City, MD, and watched the Weather Channel starting last week. They apparently woke up Friday morning and though it was a great day for a kayak ride. The weather turned out as forecasted where I stayed.

At least they had the sense to call the Cost Guard rather than attempt paddling back.

Apparently, not one of the four looked at the weather forecast. By Sunday, temperatures had improved and conditions had moderated considerably. Suprising lack of awareness.

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That was my speculative thought. At Hilton Head: Friday 7mph, Saturday 28 mph at noon, subsiding to 16 mph by 6 pm. Sunday 6mph at 6 am, 3 mph by noon.

Unless there was some other personal emergency they didn’t want the entire universe to hear about and for which running out of food and water in one day was a better excuse, they could have waited.

I really hope they didn’t call the CG just because they’d be a day late getting home.

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The paddlers didn’t call for rescue; one of the wives did. It may very well be that the paddlers were prepared to spend Saturday on the island but one of the wives got nervous.

Unfair to judge them without knowing the full story.

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That’s plausible and I was trying not to be judgmental, only speculating what could be. Not assuming what did occur. As usual, there aren’t many facts.

We knew it would be bad weather the monday before the rescue.

According to reported info, they set up camp on Friday night and couldn’t make it back on Saturday morning. By 2:49 pm on Saturday, they had no food and needed to be rescued. Three obvious options that I see:

  1. They launched on Friday and had no clue a storm was going to hit them that evening between 9:00 pm and midnight and intensify through Saturday evening. If they hadn’t been following the weather forecast, they’d also be unaware the storm would be clearing out on Sunday.

  2. Saw the weather forecast and thought cycling bomb was hyperbole or thought it wouldn’t be anything they couldn’t handle.

  3. Saw the forecast and thought what a rush and wanted to be on location when the “Adventure” began. Then figured Ohh! Bad idea! At least they gained valuable experience. On Tuesday, I was expected gale force winds by late Friday night.

My guess is they expected an opportunity for a fun day in the surf, but their expertice was 7 1/2 feet or less. They couldn’t have been that . . . unaware . . . of a storm approaching.