Coast Guard searching for overdue kayaker near Suwannee, Fla.

Southeastern Coast Guard News

SUWANNEE, Fla. — The Coast Guard is assisting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in searching for a 46-year-old male who was reported overdue in a 14-foot kayak Sunday.

Missing is James F. McDonald.

FWC personnel contacted watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg requesting assistance in searching for McDonald. He was reported overdue by family members stating he left for a camping and kayaking trip Oct. 9 and had not returned.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater launched at 7 a.m. Monday to assist..

The Coast Guard wants to remind kayakers of some basic safety tips before their next outing.

  •  File a float plan. This includes telling family or friends where you are going, what you will be doing and how long you expect to be gone.
  •  Wear a life jacket. Coast Guard regulations require that all kayaks have a life jacket on board. There are life jackets designed specifically for paddlers. Buy one that fits well and always wear it while you paddle.
  •  Be aware of weather conditions and water temperature. Prepare for changes in weather and always remember to dress for the water not the weather.
  •  Stay hydrated. Bring plenty of water and food in case of emergencies.
  •  Seek qualified instruction to learn proper paddling techniques, water safety and basic first aid.
  •  Bring a VHF-FM radio. A cell phone is a good backup plan but will sometimes not get reception in certain areas.

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