LAKE TAHOE – The Coast Guard sent an update on the rescue of a 45-year-old man from Lake Tahoe on Wednesday. They assisted in the rescue after the man fell from a jet ski near Cave Rock in Lake Tahoe, Nevada on Wednesday.
Watchmen at the San Francisco Coast Guard Sector Command Center received a report around 5:30 p.m. of an unmanned jet ski drifting in the vicinity of Cave Rock. They then issued an urgent maritime information broadcast and a boat crew from Coast Guard Station Lake Tahoe (USCG Lake Tahoe) was immediately launched. The man was confirmed to have been last seen on the jet ski wearing a yellow life jacket and gray shorts.
The USCG Lake Tahoe boat crew located the man who was alert, conscious and wearing a life jacket. He had been floating for about two hours in the cold water and was transported to see medics waiting at the Cave Rock boat launch. He was released without being sent to hospital, according to his family.
The South Lake Tahoe Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, Douglas County Fire Department, Washoe County Care Flight, and Washoe County Nevada Wildlife Division also have participated in the research.
“This is a situation that could have ended very differently had this individual not had a life jacket,” said Capt. Taylor Lam, San Francisco sector commander. “Over 75% of boating accidents result in drownings and over 85% of victims were not wearing a life jacket.
In Lake Tahoe, Cold Water Shock is a serious problem, with many failing to understand that no matter how skilled one is as a swimmer, one cannot control how one’s lungs react in cold water.
The Coast Guard recommends that mariners follow the following safety tips to ensure their safety while on the water:
Always wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket when boating. Make sure there is at least one properly fitted life jacket for each passenger and that life jackets are easily accessible if not being worn. All children under 13 must wear a life jacket at all times. There are life jackets on loan at Lake Tahoe area fire stations.
Make sure your lifejacket fits properly. People can slip off ill-fitting life jackets when they hit the water, decreasing their chances of survival.
Don’t drink or sail. Along with wearing a life jacket, not drinking and boating is one of the easiest ways to prevent accidental deaths on the water. Persons operating vessels under the influence of alcohol, drugs or impairing medication pose a serious threat to you and anyone else on board.
Make a VHF radio your preferred means of communication in an emergency. Cell phones can go out of range or lose battery power when they need it most. Make sure you familiarize yourself with its use.
Take a boating safety course. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is one of many organizations that offer valuable boating safety courses ranging from electronic navigation to boat handling. Click here to register for a boating safety course.
Get a ship security check. The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free boating safety checks. Get a free safety inspection from the Coast Guard Auxiliary to ensure you have all the safety gear and equipment required by your state and federal laws. Click here to find one near you.
Check the weather and the tides before you go. It may seem like a beautiful day, but the squalls and shifting tides can change suddenly.
Submit a float plan. Just like hiking, tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Floating maps provide a starting point to help you find yourself if something happens.
Dress for the water, not the weather. Check the water temperature before heading out and dress accordingly.
Know your navigation rules. Know how to properly navigate the waterways and maintain lookouts to keep you and everyone around you safe.
Location beacons can help us find you faster. Attaching a working EPIRB to your boat, or a PPIRB to your lifejacket, and knowing how to use them can help rescuers find and assist you. In order to be most effective, these should be recorded with owner information and emergency contacts.
Label kayaks and pedal boats. The Coast Guard often encounters sternwheelers adrift, and when properly tagged, it is easier for rescue personnel to confirm if there is real distress and save countless hours of searching. when a person is not in distress.
Check out the Coast Guard Boating Safety app. You can file a flotation plan, request assistance, request a vessel safety audit, and report pollution and navigational hazards.
Additionally, swimmers throughout California should be aware of hazards along the coast, such as cold water, dangerous waves, sneaker waves, and rip currents. California has seen a recent spike in deaths from sneaker waves over the past year. It is recommended that swimmers check the surf report to identify dangerous water conditions before visiting the beaches.
Sneaker waves are killer, larger than average swells that suddenly surge much farther down the beach after periods of calm surf and smaller waves. NOAA recommends beachgoers watch the waves for 15 to 30 minutes to determine how far the beach waves reach.
Rip currents can occur anywhere there are breaking waves. They do not pull people underwater, but can pull even the strongest swimmer far out to sea. People caught in a rip current should swim parallel to the shore until they are out rip current, then swim to shore.