Thursday, May 19, 2011
The day boat very sensibly motored straight up wind covering the area over which the kayak had been blown. Then I saw an arm held straight up. Fortunately the day boat crew saw it. They had a hell of a job trying lift the lone kayaker into the cockpit as the day boat has a relatively high freeboard. The lucky kayaker was clearly barely able to help and collapsed into the cockpit. He was not wearing a buoyancy aid and, despite the water being only 6.5 degrees centigrade was wearing shorts. It turned out he had gone out on his own in the back seat of the sit on top. He couldn't turn it round into the wind to paddle back to the shore in the strong wind. He then fell in and the wind blew the sit on top away.
It was an ebb spring tide so if he had been swept out past the islands he would probably not have been found alive. He was extremely lucky he was spotted and that help was at hand. This sort of near miss and rescue will never make national statistics but it must be happening all round the coast. A combination of hot sun, cold water and an offshore wind can be lethal. I have witnessed 4 fatal boating accidents in Fleet Bay since 1968 and lost count of innumerable near misses. Thank goodness this one had a happy ending. I was glad I had decided to stay on the beach.