Coast Guard Cutter Kiska rescues kayaker in distress off Big Island

Hawaii-Pacific Coast Guard News
HONOLULU – The Coast Guard Cutter Kiska rescued a distressed kayaker near Big Island and safely transported him to Hilo, Wednesday.

Kiska arrived on scene at 11:31 p.m. Tuesday and safely brought aboard the 38-year-old man and his kayak.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received notification at 6:29 p.m. via cell phone from the kayaker approximately 19 miles northeast of Kohala, Big Island. The kayaker 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 HC-130 Hercules airplane crew dropped a VHF radio, flares and a lifejacket to the kayaker. The kayaker had no life-saving equipment aboard.

Due to a depleted cell phone battery, the provided radio became the primary means of 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


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