January 3, 2019 at 2:55 pm #3406
Coast Guard Safety Message to Kiteboarders in New England
By LT Nick Barrow, Command Center Supervisor, Sector Northern New England – South Portland, Maine
When your kite or board get away from you in the water and float away, what do you do? No doubt this could be a dangerous, frustrating and potentially expensive situation. Obviously, your safety and ability to get back to shore are paramount — and the Coast Guard stands ready to respond should you find yourself in distress. But what happens when your adrift gear is later discovered floating in the water and reported to the Coast Guard? We search.
Cases such as these are not all that uncommon. Kites, boards, unmanned kayaks, etc. that are discovered in the water with nobody in sight often spur Coast Guard searches and are treated as though someone could be in the water and in need of assistance. We launch boats and sometimes aircraft to respond to the area, attempt to locate, retrieve, and analyze the gear, and search the area for signs of distress or someone in the water. Searches such as these often go on for some time until we can find the owner and verify there is no distress — or after we make a good faith effort to adequately cover the area with no findings, missing person reports, etc.
For example, on Friday March 18, 2011, the Coast Guard responded to a report of a kiteboarding kite seen in the water in the northwest portion of Frenchman Bay, Maine (North of Mt. Desert Island). After retrieving the kite, a rescue boat conducted a 4-hour search of the area and a helicopter from Cape Cod was dispatched to conduct a 1.5 hour search. The CoastGuard later became aware that a kiteboarder did in fact release his kite in the water earlier in the day while boarding near the shore and could not retrieve it.
+ Be prepared for the worst. Think about what you would do if you lose your kite or board offshore – and how you would alert others if you need help. A small mirror or signaling device is a good idea.
+ Should you find yourself in need of rescue, it is easier for responders to find you if you wear bright or contrasting color. Reflective tape or a water-proof strobe light are also great options.
+ Always participate in water sports with someone else — or tell a friend/family member where you are going and when you expect to return.
+ Place your name and an alternate contact, with telephone numbers, on your gear.
+ If your gear gets away, let us know. Contact the Coast Guard directly or pass the info through local authorities. Having a description of your gear and location you lost it can help prevent unnecessary searches. This may also increase the likelihood of your gear being returned when it is found in the water.
+ Have fun, but be responsible and be safe!
Coast Guard Command Center Contact Numbers:
–Northern New England (Canadian border to Mass-NH border): 207-767-0303
–Boston (Mass-NH border to Cape Cod): 617-223-3201
–Southeastern New England (Cape Cod to RI-Connecticut border): 508-457-3211
–Long Island Sound (Connecticut and most of Long Island): 203-468-4401
–New York (New York City and surrounding areas and lower Long Island): 718-354-4353
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.