Coast Guard drops life saving equipment to kayaker in distress off Big Island

Hawaii-Pacific Coast Guard News
HONOLULU – The Coast Guard responded to a kayaker in distress off Big Island, Tuesday.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received notification at 6:29 p.m. via cell phone from a kayaker approximately 19 miles northeast of Kohala, Big Island. The 38-year-old man was en route Big Island from Maui when he reportedly lost sight of the island due to volcanic smog and drifted off course.

Watchstanders were able to triangulate his signal with the aid of Hawaii County Police Dispatch to determine his location.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point diverted from training flights to the kayaker’s location. The Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, homeported in Hilo, is en route to assist.

The HC-130 Hercules crew arrived on scene at 7:15 p.m. and dropped a radio and lifejacket to the kayaker. The kayaker has no other life saving equipment aboard.

Due to depleted cell phone battery, the Hercules crew dropped a radio to establish communication with the kayaker.

Mariners should always carry essential safety equipment when heading out on the water to include a VHF marine radio, lifejacket and flares. VHF radios have the advantage of reaching all vessels within the broadcast range simultaneously. Cell phones only provide one-to-one communication and are an unreliable emergency communication method when offshore. Mariners are also advised to use and register an emergency position-indicating radio beacon or personal locator beacon. For more information on EPIRBs, visit www.epirb.com.

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