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I might have saved a life today, with help from the USCG
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grayson



Joined: 09 May 2003
Posts: 84
Location: Burlington, VT

PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 8:50 pm    Post subject: I might have saved a life today, with help from the USCG Reply with quote

I was just heading out for a longboard sesh this afternoon when I came across a kid in a small sailboat drifting along with sails down who waved me down. He explained that he'd been drifting for a half-hour or so since they lost their tiller in open water and his friend (displaying incredible stupidity) jumped into the water to get it. Of course the sailboat (with no tiller and probably sails still up) continued to drift quickly downwind leaving the kid in the water absolutely no chance to catch up to it, and the kid in the boat powerless to go back upwind to get him. The kid in the water had a wetsuit on and a PFD, but he was far from shore, and the lake (at 43°F water temp in Burlington Bay) is still wicked cold to be hanging out in it for over a half-hour!

I knew the Coast Guard could get to this kid way quicker than I could (and do much more once they got to him), so I called 911 and they immediately connected me to the Coast Guard station in Burlington. Literally within seconds of being connected to the Coast Guard station, still talking to them on the phone, I saw their boat rocketing toward us out of Burlington Bay. They efficiently checked in with me and the kid in the boat, made sure we were OK, got the details they needed from us, and asked me to stay near the kid in the boat while they jetted off to find the kid in the water. They found him surprisingly quickly (I'm guessing at least a mile and a half upwind of us) and came back to help the kid in the boat who of course needed assistance getting his boat home with no tiller. I never heard what condition the first kid was in when they plucked him from the water, but I imagine he was at least somewhat hypothermic. I hope he's OK, and that this was nothing more than a big scare and a lesson learned.

Afterward, I had a most wonderful sailing sesh, with some light-wind cruising, and some powered-up blasting. Of course keeping an eagle-eye out for the debris that still litters the lake (and was I'm sure the demise of the kids' tiller). There was NOBODY else out on the lake, so I'm doubly glad I decided to head out for a sail when I did or I'm not sure what would have happened to those kids.

Anyway, morals of the story:

1. The USCG guys rock!! I'm SO glad to know those guys/gals are there when you need 'em! They responded with incredible speed and efficiency. It was very cool to witness.

2. A cellphone in your pocket can save a life — yours or somebody else's. I always keep a cellphone in my pocket when I sail. A cheapo prepaid phone does the trick, or even an old phone with no active plan. Even with no paid plan, ANY cellphone can reach 911 if it has a charge and is not broken. I just keep a dedicated "water phone" in a waterproof bag, make sure it's charged every month or so, and only turn it on on the very rare occasion when I need it.

I really don't know what I'd have done in that situation had I not had my phone: Go upwind to find the kid? Sail 10-15 minutes to shore to find somebody with a cellphone? Sail slightly farther directly to the Coast Guard station? I'm just glad I didn't have to make that choice.

Safe sailing everybody.
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beallmd



Joined: 10 May 1998
Posts: 1154

PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

very nice!
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Posts: 5022

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done.........you may well have saved a life. Just for info.........where is the "pocket" in your wetsuit?
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grayson



Joined: 09 May 2003
Posts: 84
Location: Burlington, VT

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrgybe wrote:
Just for info.........where is the "pocket" in your wetsuit?

Not in my wetsuit; the pocket is in my PFD. It's a Neil Pryde High Hook vest. Nice vest, comfy enough I don't even notice it, works well with a harness, and has a handy mesh pocket in the front with room for a phone, a whistle, some spare line, a multi-tool, and an energy bar. It even has attachment points on the back for a dedicated "Hydropouch" hydration accessory that is really slick, but unfortunately almost impossible to find¹. If you can find one, you've got a very slick setup for really covering some miles on the water.
____

¹ Here's links for the one I bought on eBay from a guy in Germany and a listing for one from a seller in Hong Kong. Anybody know why Neil Pryde seems to not be selling these, even though it's listed as an accessory to the vests on the Pryde website?
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 20206

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been considering a minimalist Camelbak, but at what point do we draw the line at bolting more crap onto our carcass? Dehydration impacts our performance and health significantly, so except at venues where hopping ashore for a quick dose of fuel and fluids is a quick, simple, process, onboard hydration can extend both performance and TOW. I really resent having to waste great wind and swell to drag my $#!"+ ashore just for fluids and calories.

Mike \m/
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brandtasm



Joined: 02 May 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 2:02 pm    Post subject: PHD, Personal hydration device Reply with quote

I use a small camelbak with small zip pocket that has just enough room for my car keys and a small cell phone. Would'nt leave shore without it.
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grayson



Joined: 09 May 2003
Posts: 84
Location: Burlington, VT

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

News story posted in the Burlington Free Press:

U.S. Coast Guard rescues 2 boys from Lake Champlain

Not entirely accurate report of the facts, but at least a good indicator that the boy who spent ~40 minutes in the water is OK.
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Username1112



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 4:45 pm    Post subject: Re: PHD, Personal hydration device Reply with quote

Very Happy

Last edited by Username1112 on Sat May 19, 2012 9:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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whitevan01



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 607

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grayson
thanks for posting a source for the hydropouch. I've been looking for one for a couple of years now. Apparently, Neil Pryde doesn't make it anymore. I ended up buying a Kokotat thing that is very similar and fits perfectly on the NP vest.

A couple of places where I sail require one to sail across a boat channel to "flats". It's really nice to be able to just sail across the channel and stay in the flats all day without having to sail back and forth across the channel to re - hydrate.
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outcast



Joined: 04 May 2004
Posts: 2719

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phone or no phone.....saved or tried.......

Hard to know how it all would have ended without you, but you did good!

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