Prepared kayaker survives distress situation in Puget Sound near Hood Canal

A Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

USCG File Photo

SEATTLE – A prepared kayaker survived a distress situation Wednesday afternoon during a kayak trip between Brinnon and Seabeck.

The kayaker was rescued by good Samaritan boaters in the area and transferred to Kitsap County Fire Department personnel on shore for evaluation.

Personnel from the Washington Emergency Operations Center notified the Coast Guard of an electronic position indicating radio beacon activation in Hood Canal at about 1:30 p.m. Watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound issued an urgent marine information broadcast, requesting help from local mariners in the area, and directed the launch of a rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Seattle and diverted an aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Sector Field Office/Air Station Port Angeles.

The Kitsap County Fire Department personnel where the first responders to arrive on scene and spotted the distressed kayaker laying face down over the front of the kayak. The good Samaritan boater arrived on scene shortly thereafter and assisted the man aboard the boat as a Coast Guard rescue swimmer prepared to deploy from the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

“We were able to arrive on scene very quickly because the personal EPIRB took the search out of search and rescue because the signal led us and our fellow responders directly to the scene,” said Lt. j.g. Jean-Pierre Spence, command duty officer at Sector Puget Sound. “Carrying the personal EPIRB is only one of the many things this kayaker did right to save his life. He was wearing a lifejacket and wetsuit; he filed a float plan so his family new exactly where he was supposed to be and he pulled himself out of the water and into his kayak.”

The exact time line of events includes notification of EPIRB activation 1:33 p.m.; UMIB issued and dolphin helicopter diverted 1:35 p.m.; Kitsap Fire personnel and helicopter on scene 2:05 p.m.; kayaker recovered by good Samaritan 2:07 p.m. The EPIRB activation plus the emergency contact confirmation of non-arrival allowed for immediate broadcasting and diverting of assets.

The air temperature was 58 degrees and the water temperature was 52 degrees.

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