Casco Bay Sea Kayak Rescue

this popped up on youtube this morning
if you have 12minutes, it’s a worthwhile watch

be careful out there


I hope Mike is OK. This video is a wealth of good information on how to handle a problem. And demonstration of the skills.

Under five minutes from Mike’s boat getting caught by the rock, Mike to swim out and gotten onto others’ decks to a decision to call for help for him.
Plenty of paddlers to handle the problem. Even without overt injury one time it took two of us to raft up to support my husband when he came out of his boat, the fourth of us to get his boat. I was first to him but was in a smaller volume boat that was not going to get him fully out of the water.
Quick call for someone to hook up a tow line to the rafted boats. Appear to be tow ropes and/or contact tows all around.
A paddler able to hop out of his boat into the boat and get in again from the water. With a nice heel hook entry (which I find impressive not wearing longer pants against shin scrapes).

Appears to have been high tide? Fortuitous if it was, would have allowed the motor boat to get in closer.

Thanks for the video.


I think it’s very instructive to see how calm the conditions are, except when just the right swell breaks just the right way. Imagine if this were some folks in recreational boats thinking they could be safe in a calm-looking ocean bay.


Wow. That was pretty intense.

Tag for further review later. Thank you for sharing this.

That was super intense. I’m very impressed with the skills and coordination of the group, and their cool heads under pressure. I hope Mike will be okay. Damn.

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Wow! Should be required viewing for all rescue and rock gardening classes. All sea kayakers, really.

Does anyone know any of the folks in the video? Or do any of them frequent this board? This just happened on Saturday and would be nice to get an update on how Mike is doing. Maine Medical Center is a good place to be if you need patching up.

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That was well done. Excellent response. It sounds like Mike was skilled and knowledgeable about the area. I understand the appeal of rock gardening, surfing and whitewater. They can be done safely, but there are unaccounted for risks that can over come knowledge and skills. Such as in this case, which makes it imperative to know what needs doing when those risks lead to injury. Kudos to that group for doing what was needed. Knowing those skills needed and communication made the difference. This is a reminder that practicing those skills is a good idea. I think I will plan for a skills practice with the group I paddle with in the near future.

Some good tips in the video…
Notice how useful/necessary the tow lines are and how much more stable two boats tied together to form a rescue platform…


Well done rescue. Definitely something I am forwarding to the local clubs as an example of what can happen and the challenges of a rescue.

The filming was quite complete too. It was not until the second time that l spotted the paddler in the back dumping the water out of Mike’s boat so it could be towed. That was also when l saw the second motor boat standing by in the background. Really the only thing the camera did not get was the act of getting Mike into the motor boat.


It wasn’t on local news
I avoid rock gardens but the area is local to me.
Good illustration of the relatively calm sea with long period rollers that generate very high and powerful waves whem coning from deep to shallow. areas. Several islands in that area are prone to such phenomena with a southeast wind
Its worth viewing several times just to wat h the heel hook reentry

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I hope he’s ok, and wish him a speedy and full recovery. That was very good of them to share this video. Lot’s of great rescue scenario stuff there. The thing I think this illustrates the best is the “out of control moment”. When people speak of always keeping your body between the kayak and the wave, this is a scenario to think about. Except in this case, he was sandwiched between rocks, so the wave reflection could slam him into rocks too. So it’s not so simple as where you have waves all moving in one direction.
Similar to the way being slammed into rocks can injure you, if you are sea kayaking in breaking waves, and someone comes between you and a wave, or you come between someone and a wave, people and kayaks can get broken. Not because you’re out of control, but simply because you experienced an out of control moment. A split second. Everyone appeared to be very thoughtful in their approach to recover kayaker and kayak in this case. It’s good to have great paddling partners.


Without the motor boats present, this could have been one of those moments where flooding the cockpit as much as possible for a scoop rescue would be the gentlest way to get him back on top of the water?

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Yes, the scoop would have been what I would have tried should getting the paddler back in to his boat was a requirement. Then likely a rafted tow, as likely the injured paddler would have trouble staying upright and would need monitoring.

But guys… If l have the sequence right Mike was out of the water on two rafted boats before they made the call that brought the motor boats. With immobility in his left arm.

My recall of first aid is that you attempt to limit moving the injured person at that point. So rather than try to get him back into a boat at all, especially if he was also passing out, seems the better idea would have been to put a couple of paddlers on towing the raft that Mike was on. Two of the paddlers in a V? Start towards shelter and have someone hailing for help at the same time.

amazing video. They handled that like pros. Glad it turned out relatively ok. I wish him a speedy recovery.

I think any rescue can be second guessed in hole or part. At what point or at what risk should the rescuer put themselves into. Quite often rescues compound. In this one I don’t think any of the rescuers were medically trained and they had no idea if speed was the most important factor or not or how long it would take to get him back one way to the other. Split second choices are hard to make. If I was the hurt person in the water I would want to get to someone that knew how to help me the quickest.

Sounds like Mike is going to be OK.

It’s good to be with a skilled and well practiced group.

Pinned by Kayak Reflections

Kayak Reflections
6 hours ago

A quick update: Mike has undergone surgery to add metal plates to his front ribs. His wife says this was a fairly non-invasive procedure that will help him heal more quickly.

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Bud, can’t tell what this is in response to. What they did was the fastest because a motor boat was close. Had the motor boat not arrived, starting to move him towards safety while still hailing for help would have been the second fastest.

Not really seeing anyone second guessing anything here. There was a what if raised about if the motor boat had not arrived. That kind of thing is a normal discussion to use to learn by in rescue scenarios. Especially in sea kayaking, reviewing incidents was a regular feature in Sea Kayaking magazine for all the years it published.

I and my husband had some dumb ass moments that we always reviewed after. It is how people who paddle in bigger water learn and adapt. It is, granted, less common for rec paddlers.