Coast Guard warns of cold water hazards following rescue in Hampton, NH

Warmer spring temperatures don't always mean warmer water temperatures. Boaters are advised to dress for the water temperatures, not the weather. This means wearing wet suits, dry suits, or other types of waterproof, insulated gear. (U.S. Coast Guard graphic by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall)

Warmer spring temperatures don’t always mean warmer water temperatures. Boaters are advised to dress for the water temperatures, not the weather.  (U.S. Coast Guard graphic by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall)

BOSTON – The Coast Guard and Hampton Fire Department responded to a disabled and adrift jet ski off of Hampton Beach, Wednesday evening.

At approximately 7:45 p.m., responders from Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor, Coast Guard Station Merrimack River, and Hampton Fire Department responded to a distress call of a jet ski with one person on board, disabled and adrift. A Coast Guard Station Merrimack River 29-foot Response Boat-Small crew placed the jet ski in tow and rescued the operator before transferring both the operator and jet ski to a Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor RB-S crew, who returned both safely to their point of origin.

“This case could have deteriorated as temperatures fell through the evening if not for a tremendous response from Coast Guard and Hampton Fire crews,” said Cmdr. Mark Neeland, deputy sector commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England, and search-and-rescue mission coordinator for this case. “It highlights the importance of continuing to follow cold water safety measures even as air temperatures rise throughout the region.”

With ocean temperatures still holding below 40 degrees, the cold water can quickly incapacitate a person and make it difficult to signal for help. Kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders, surfers and boaters can increase their survivability by taking the following precautions:

  • Review safety gear prior to departure by ensuring lifejackets, navigation equipment, radio and fire extinguishers are functioning and know how to use them in an emergency.
  • Dress Appropriately. Wear a lifejacket, drysuit, or wetsuit.
  • File a float plan by telling a responsible person ashore where you are going, for how long and where/when you plan to return.

Starting on Monday, April 12, Coast Guard Sector Northern New England will be participating along with the National Weather Service in Northeast Cold Water Awareness Week. Mariners are encouraged to visit the Coast Guard Sector Northern New England or U.S. Coast Guard Northeast Facebook pages and https://www.weather.gov/safety/coldwater for additional resources regarding cold water hazards and safety.

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