Yet another mishap ending positive

Posted Aug. 7, 2008
Updated 6:55 PM

Guilford (WTNH/AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard searched for a missing kayaker in the Long Island Sound near Guilford. He was found clinging to a buoy off of Sachem's Head.

Emergency crews from Guilford, Branford, Madison, and Clinton were assisting the Coast Guard with the search.

He was located about 90 minutes after calling 911 on Thursday afternoon, saying his kayak had overturned and he needed help.

The connection cut off as he described his approximate location near Faulkner's Island.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Annie Berlin says Madison firefighters in a rescue boat spotted the man clinging to a buoy, waving a white item to draw their attention.

"The Coast Guard urges all kayakers to always go with a buddy," said Lt. j.g. Stephanie Pitts, Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound command duty officer. "Wearing a life jacket, carrying a signaling device and filing a float plan with someone on shore can greatly increase your chances of survival should something go wrong."

The kayaker was wearing a life jacket. There were no reported injuries.

Something’s fishy

– Last Updated: Aug-07-08 10:10 PM EST –

He overturned his kayak and needed help. Then he called 911. How? How did he call from in the water. Where was his cell phone? Then he was rescued clinging to a buoy. But he was wearing a life jacket.

2 + 2 = 3 in this story

Sounds like another dumbass in a boat story to me. I could be wrong but I don't think so.

Paddlin' on

Try a little homework
From a very quick search on the interenet:

“If you want to go between Faulkner and Goose islands, go slowly and favor the east side of this passage… You also have to be careful of the tidal currents of 1 to 2 knots, which can set you well off course.

The west side of Faulkner Island is a nice place for a swim on hot summer afternoons, but again be careful of the currents-the mainland is a long way off. On relatively calm nights you can settle into the lee of one of the islands for an anchorage, but the islands don’t offer much protection.”

Let’s see - I have lost contact with my boat and I can either hang onto a buoy or be swept out to open sea or along the remaining length of CT and RI into Buzzard’s Bay if I get lucky. And in Buzzard’s Bay all I have to do is avoid being run over by the (really) fast ferry.

Gee, I just don’t know which one I’d pick.

Apply a little logic sans internet

– Last Updated: Aug-07-08 11:05 PM EST –

Doesn't take rocket science to figure this one out.

Unskilled out alone on big water, kayak overturned, called 911 and needed rescued.

What he did "after" he turned over was correct. Saving his ass after being stupid doesn't balance the equation.

Repeat: Kayaker or dumbass in a kayak? I vote the latter.

Your turn.

stuff happens
All kayakers have the potential to end up in a similar situation–upside down in the water, out of the boat. No matter how good your roll, no matter how good your skills, bad things can happen. That doesn’t mean the person was an idiot. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. If I end up in trouble, I hope I have as much sense once I’m in trouble as that fellow had.

And whoever mentioned hardy cell phones–please give us more information. My cell phone would fall apart if someone sneezed near it. I want a sturdy, tough cell phone, but my service provider (US Cellular) seems to allow only a few dinky models.

GK, you’re doing it again . . .
We really don’t know enough about this guy’s situation to label him a “dumb ass” or inexperienced. Paddling alone under those conditions was a mistake I doubt he will repeat. With your maritime knowledge, surely you know about “killer” waves that have overturned ships. Weird stuff can happen to any of us. Maybe he was run over by a speedboater (I couldn’t resist that).

As far as the question about the military grade, water resistant cell phone, I can vouch for the one available through Verizon, called the GZ1. I had to use it earlier this week, the first time I took it on a paddle; it got wet and muddy and performed very well. I carry it in my PFD. It has a built-in “loop” as part of the casing, so it’s no trouble at all to tie a bungee from it to your PFD pocket.

Tive the GZ1 is the phone I was talking
about. They also have the gz1 boulder check them out they seem to hold up form what I have seen. Including the one I saw that was chewed up by a pit bull. There are reviews of them on the net so check the phone out.

All I have to say

I saw the report on TV last night, and the kayak appeared to be a crossover boat with a HUGE cockpit - likely no sprayskirt or ability to roll. Add to that the severe storms (A funnel cloud just down the coast a piece, and 2 inch hail) that were going on all afternoon, and he probably shouldn’t have been out there at all, much less alone.

That area has seen more than it’s share of rec kayakers get killed paddling in weather that seasoned rough water paddlers wouldn’t go out in.

GK, your post was less than clear

– Last Updated: Aug-09-08 12:01 AM EST –

You made it sound like he'd screwed up by hanging onto the buoy.

As to what happened, Wayne Smith appears to be the only one in this thread who waited until he'd gotten oinfo on the boat and the guy's preparation, which appear to be questionable.

But as others who have paddled that area have noted, it can be tricky and there were storms coming thru and shit happens even if you are good. While you are probably a better paddler than me and certainly much stronger, ocean areas with idal currents worth noting are a place where I'd defer to my own judgement based on seat time.

Darwin had it right.
But there were no cellphones back then.

getting away with it
Hopefully this guy and maybe a few people who saw the news report learnt from this but I suspect not, probably just boosted sales of rec boats at EMS, “oh look the coast guard will come and get me if I screw up”

People get away with ignoring or not knowing safety procedures on a regular basis which creates a false sense of security which means when the accident does happen it will be a big one. This applies to other activities not just kayaking. Deep Survival is agreat book if you want to read more.

Sooner or later kayakers will be legislated against to protect people who are unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions, by educating them selves about or following well known safety protocols.

“Just because you kayak doesnt make you a kayaker” maybe if us “kayakers” set a good example and talked to the rec boaters more of those other people in kayaks might become “kayakers” and we might not be legislated against as soon. (That should read paddlers not kayakers but it didnt sound as good.)

I feel pretty safe paddling without a PFD or a partner but always wear a PFD and very rarely paddle solo, because I want to set a good example for “Jo rec boat”. I try not to sneer at the folks in bad boats using bad technique or doing dangerous stuff (sometimes its hard) given a chance most of them can improve and maybe become kayakers but the community needs to let them in.

Ref Casio ruggedized phones. I’ll sell you mine. Its the second on I’ve had since december 07 the first one lasted 6 weeks and this one has a crack in the housing. Not had any different treatment to my old POS non ruggedized phone which lasted the 2 years till verizon gave me a new one. My friend got one just after me and his broke even quicker so I’m sure its not just me. If some one wants to buy mine it’ll save me waiting for my next free replacement to get a real phone again

some years ago
a kayaker went out in that area, left no float plan, was unable to get back. The winds were coming from the north and of course from the shore you cannot see the whitecaps because they face away from you. When he paddled out a bit he realized he was in trouble and paddled to Greenport Long Island.

Darwin award: he did not tell anyone where he was. Family notified Coast Guard when he did not return home at night.

Paddler saw on the 11PM news from his comfy bed at a Greenport motel that the CG was searching for him.

Now that one should have been shot.

I was right after all
Maybe my comment was abrasive but the guy wasn’t a kayaker and was a dumbass in a kayak.

Dumb for being in conditions he shouldn’t have been in but smart enough to save his own ass. Over all it was a great learning experience for him and good practice for the rescue party. Regretfully all dumb ass paddler stories don’t end well. Bet he doesn’t do that again. Unfortunately the other dumbasses will never read the story.

It would be nice to be able to educate everyone who wants to paddle…but that will never happen. I’d much rather read one of these knowing he was scared shitless for 90 minutes (a fitting price to pay) than the alternative. Otherwise this would have been a dumbass in a kayak dies story.

Sorry no sympathy from me for stupity… only condolances to the families.

Paddlin’ on


ignorance is bliss they say
most dumbasses just don’t know any better… they don’t appreciate the danger because they just don’t know about it… most don’t realize the force of water either, until the first time or two they go swimming in a strong current… i really believe the problem is that the general public underestimates the dangerous situations they can get into, in many ways it is too easy to start kayaking - goto store, buy boat and pfd, head out. For most, it’s a new sport and they just don’t have a clue. Not that it is an excuse, but most people just think of kayaking as a harmless little paddle in a rec boat. Yeah, they should take the time to learn a little, but it appears that noone really does. I know when I first began paddling, i just didn’t have the knowledge to realize how dangerous certain situations could be. That only comes with experience and training.

The problem doesn’t seem to come from specialty shops, but rather from box store purchases. It would be nice if box stores gave some instruction, but they don’t. I don’t know what the answer is, but this does seem to be a problem. Time will sort it out. I know of many dumbasses who, once they realized how dangerous it can get, or who were told and actually listened, went on and sought others to learn from or sought professional instruction and eventually became paddlers. However, there are always going to be those who just won’t listen, and don’t care. Darwin will sort those out. These ones I have no sympathy for either - only for their families. However, I do have sympathy for those who just got a kayak and are on their first paddle or two - they just don’t know any better because noone told them, many times these people are open to learning but have no clue they need it. Many would seek out instruction if someone just talked with them about the sport.

With that said, I too am fast losing my patience with newbies and beginners who insist on going out in conditions or areas they just shouldn’t be in. It tarnishes the reputation of kayakers everywhere. Again, I have no answers, just observations… And this is only going to become a bigger problem as more people take to paddling…

the media
always makes it sound like they (in trouble) acted responsibly . So Joe in his wreck boat thinks -cool all I gotta do is call the C.G.


ignorance is bliss they say
It can be quite a chore feeling responsible for people. I have several instances where people were put off and not real happy with me for ruining their fun. One was a trip to “see the seals” in Gloucester, MA. I was informed that two people didn’t appreciate my scare tactics leading up to the event. I canceled it due to weather that morning, and I didn’t want to know what everyone thought of that after the criticisms of my prior worst case scenario lay-outs. Later that evening, I got a few phone calls from the would-have-been paddlers about a helicopter rescue of two people, luckily who were wearing drysuits, after spending four hours in the water. I did at least get a thanks after the fact from one of the previously dissappointed people. She later declared that I saved her life that day.

In another situation I volunteered to provide my tandem kayak and guide a couple out to a campsite as they had missed the boat earlier. It was night, the weather was nice, but we were going to the end of Carolina Beach Inlet during mid ebb. I was told by the gentleman a while after we safely arrived in the dark that I was very drill sargeant-like, and that it would have been a lot more enjoyable had I taken it easy with all that. 12 hours later in the daylight, he and I walk over to the end of the inlet just looking around. He notices the speed of the water. He asks, “Was that water moving like that last night?” I replied “Did you honestly think you were paddling that fast? Count how many second it would take from our landing spot to hit that surf. How would you have figured out where you were in the middle of that in the dark?” After about 30 seconds of counting and pondering, he responds “Holy shit, I get it! Thank you.”

Something I don’t like is that although I’m often told I’m overly cautious, I almost never have any company when paddling, especially in and out of inlets and on the ocean, where I should most rely on it. I will probably be called a dumbass too one day (maybe today), but I can say upfront that it’s calculated. For as great as the paddling is here on the NC Coast near Wilmington, I can count the actual sea kayakers that I know on 1 hand, and we just never seem to get together. I need to find a new way to recruit others to the sport?

Guess I am stupid too
after all I am just learning to canoe.

We were out by Goose Rocks when a squall hit and ten foot waves came in…with the tidal current, shallows and east wind at 40 mph…the waves grew and grew and we flipped.

Yep we were dumbass…we believed the weather for the day. This storm hit practically without warning.

Only flares and a radio saved us at all plus the fact we were rapidly going toward Branford and not out and it took a while because of the bad weather. I could have been as easily a statistic as that “dumb ass”… who may actually be reading this…

I love name calling by people who dont know the area and rely on Internet research…

I think I’m the only one who checked this area via Inet (though I have also done training east of the shoreline under which Faulkner lies). Did I do some name calling and missed it?

Here’s you sign

– Last Updated: Aug-08-08 1:46 PM EST –

I call a spade a spade.

Not using good judgment, not having good sense = dumbass.

They are the same just different ways of saying it.

so because I got caught in a squall

– Last Updated: Aug-08-08 9:14 PM EST –

and had a radio that was not being heard by anyone and set off flares, that makes me a jackass.

Just how much do you know about the area you are spouting off your expertise on? Its not in Georgia..clueless.