Victoria, Australia

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Victoria, Australia

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Thunder storm

Victoria, Australia

-37.4713077°S, 144.7851531°E

Posted on May 2, 2018 by Morgan

What happened?

For the last 6 months my commute to and from work has involved a 4.5 km kayak crossing between Stony Point and my home on French Island in Westernport Bay, Victoria, Australia.

Last Thursday night I set off for home in slightly stronger conditions than I had attempted previously (20-28 knots). I had the option of waiting for the ferry, but it was a tailwind, there was still plenty of light, the tide was offering a slight assistance. It looked like fun! If I did capsize I was confident in my ability to roll myself back up, or failing that to re-enter and pump out.

I was about to learn that this confidence was ill-founded.

Swell was quite messy, but I was flying along until about 2 kms from home when a wave tipped me over.

I had practiced my roll regularly, but with the pressure on and in rough conditions I couldn’t get myself back up, so had to do a wet exit. Then I found that the re-entry techniques I had practiced in calmer weather were too difficult. I couldn’t get enough water out of the cockpit to make it stable enough to re-enter.

The radio that I usually carried had for some reason not charged overnight, so I had not brought it. I got my phone out to call for help, and found that its waterproof pouch was flooded.

Holding the boat, I started kicking for shore. After about 30 minutes I was starting to feel the cold so I activated my PLB while I still had the dexterity to do so.

My memory is pretty patchy after that. I remember my feet touching the bottom, and I have an image of the helicopter circling around. Initially I had tried to keep the PLB above the water, but by the end I had let it go (tethered to me), which may have been why they couldn’t pin-point my location.

On shore my partner had initiated a response, and quite a few of my neighbours had come down to help search. One of them found me kneeling in the shallows clutching my boat. I was helped into the heli and flown to Frankston hospital with moderate hypothermia.

I had been in the 13 degree (55 F) water from 1.5 hours and my temperature was 30.5 (87 F) degrees.

I will need to improve my self-rescue skills, and be more conservative with regards to conditions before I next head offshore alone.

Words of wisdom

Always carry a PLB on your person.

Thank you note

Thank you ACR!

Rescue location

Victoria, Australia

Rescue team

Other

ResQLink™

Go to product details

It may be small, but it's tough. The ResQLink™ PLB Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is a GPS-enabled rescue beacon that's suited for outdoor adventures of all sizes (think: everything from hiking and cycling to hunting and fishing). Should you run into an unexpected situation, the ResQLink PLB will relay your location to a network of search and rescue satellites. PLBs have helped save thousands of people's lives. This Product Has Been Discontinued.    WARNING: PROP 65    

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