Cold Water Kayak Close Call

I saw this posted on social media and shared it in hopes it promotes cold water fishing safety.

Public Safety Announcement by Travis Iapicco

If you are crazy/hardcore enough to be out in a kayak this time of year please realize you are risking your life. Wear a PFD and ideally a dry suit. Have your other safety gear like a whistle and maybe even a hand held VHF radio and water activated light.

I currently work out in Raritan Bay off Staten Island on a construction project. Our crew boat runs periodically during the day bringing people back and forth from site to our launch/office in Laurence Harbor. Posting this cause hopefully it will end up saving somebody from being in same situation…

This afternoon around 1pm my phone started going off from guys out at the site. Our crew boat was making a run back to drop some people at the office when one of the guys aboard thought they saw someone waving their arms a few hundred yards away. The captain slowed down and that’s exactly what it was – two kayakers had fallen overboard out of their kayaks while going for winter flounder. One said he got knocked out from a rogue wave. The other flipped trying to help his friend. First guy had a PFD aboard but not on. What I understood was 2nd guy had his on but took it off and threw it trying to help save his buddy.

This capsized kayaker is in trouble. Add in cold water and the situation is life threatening fast. This photo is not from the event detailed here but a stock photo from Walking Rivers.

Fortunately the crew boat had all the proper gear onboard the boat to help; a hypothermia kit, a Jason’s Cradle, etc. so they could be safely retrieved and get their body temps back up. One guy barely made it up and needed assistance. We try to do man overboard drill monthly too and it paid off for them. They said they were in the water for 10 mins. Our buoy at site says water temp is about 40 degrees presently. One of the guys onboard our boat called Old Bridge PD/EMS and they met the boat at our dock to care for them. The kayakers were released without going to the hospital. Only casualties were a lost paddle, lost rods, and maybe cell phones.

If it wasn’t a matter of time and space, people would be posting links to local fishing groups about how there’s a search underway for 2 missing kayakers in Raritan Bay. It’s great to get out on the water but everybody be safe and realize the danger especially this time of year when you are basically alone on the water.

Author: FishHead.Greg

A Long Beach Island native with life long experience fishing and navigating the local waters, Greg is a distinguished Master Captain (the highest qualified operator license), holding a US Coast Guard Masters 50T Near Coastal License with Towing Endorsement. Raised in and now managing his family's bait and tackle business, Fishermans Headquarters (Since 1962, The Saltwater Fishing Bait & Tackle Experts) Greg is daily immersed in fishing. He is the Chief Contributor of (Long Beach Island's best fishing report blog) as well as the Admin for the shop's social media pages (on Instagram and Facebook). Be sure to follow!

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