ACR ResQLink Aids Paddler When Her Offshore Journey Took a Turn
Posted on June 29, 2023 by Carolyn
I recently required rescuing only 3 km off shore.
I went out solo paddling to an offshore island as a training exercise. The winds weren’t forecast to be very strong – under 15 knots. Tide was falling and I had no unusual concerns. The island lay 8km offshore but I only planned to go part of the way and turn around. I had my ACR ResQLink 400 strapped to my life vest as usual, and my mobile phone, had told a friend what I was doing and off I went.
The whole exercise should have only been 2 hours.
The wind came up when I was about 3/4 of the way and I turned around to headed back. The waves dropped off and I was happily heading home singing some songs. The water was a bit messy with smaller waves bouncing off the coast in the opposite direction of the small swell.
Suddenly, my kayak pitched to the side and out I went. I have been practicing rolling but wasn’t quick enough to respond. I wasn’t too worried, swam to the bow and, with a bit of effort, tipped the water out, righted my kayak and managed to get on the deck.
However, I hadn’t practiced self rescue (I realize in hindsight now) and kept toppling back in the water when I tried butting both legs in the cockpit. I wasn’t drifting fast as it was on a neap tide and so wasn’t too concerned. After a few attempts – which were quite exertive – I realized I needed help. I was pretty disappointed in myself. I was in the water with my elbow in the cockpit filled with water when I rang emergency services.
Unfortunately, it was a nationwide call and the operator was unfamiliar with the location and was asking what seemed to me irrelevant questions. I tried to explain my circumstances but she was asking questions like “what’s your nearest street” and “what suburb do you live in”. When she suggested I swim to shore I said “don’t worry about it” and hung up. I managed to get on my deck once more and rang my friend who knew I was out on the water and asked him to call emergency and get me help.
It was then that I saw a large fin glide through the water near my bow that I decided I was not going to attempt another re-entry. Enough splashing around!
Now, in a panic, I quickly flipped the aerial loose and pushed the rescue button on my ACR ResQlink 400. I lay down and waited. There was a bit of confusion with rescue because I’d rung Emergency and also Marine safety had my GPS. My son called me next as he was on my list of contacts and I assured him I was ok and waiting for rescue. I was contacted by the local police and surf lifesaving and they got a surf ski out to locate me. I feel like I was hasty in pressing the button on my PLB when I had mobile reception but I now have the confidence of how well it works.
Emergency services assured me I did everything right. I had registered my PLB with Marine Safety, with my current details including my contacts and my phone number. Also, I didn’t wait until I was really exhausted or in trouble before calling for help. At the end of the day only my pride was hurt. I’m now practicing my self-rescues and assisted rescues.
The experience made me realize how quickly things can go pear-shaped. Thankfully we live in a time when help is not far away. Unfortunately, the PLB’s aerial snapped off on the fast boat ride back to land as I didn’t clip it safely back in place.
Words of wisdom
Circumstances can change suddenly. Practice using the PLB including releasing and replacing the aerial.
Thank you note
Thanks team – the ACR ResQLink PLB was effective and easy to use.
QRMP+FX South Townsville QLD, Australia
Law Enforcement / Police
ResQLink™ 400Go to product details
Small but resilient, the ResQLink 400 has been professionally engineered and tested to ensure it can withstand even the harshest elements. This buoyant Personal Locator Beacon requires no subscription for use and can be utilized to enhance your safety in a wide variety of environments. Whether on land, at sea, or in the air, trust that the ResQLink’s satellite precision and military durability, put rescue in the palm of your hands.
Features and Benefits:
- No Subscription Required
- GPS and Galileo GNSS
- Built-In Buoyancy
- Strobe and Infrared Strobe
- Global Coverage
- MEOSAR Compatible
- Small and lightweight
- 5-year battery life
- 24+ hours Operational Life**
- Multi-function Clip System Included