Rescue Story No. 1

From: Ed Scott (
Date: Fri Oct 09 1998 - 16:27:43 PDT

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Subject: Rescue Story No. 1
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1998 16:27:43 -0700
X-Mailer: Claris Emailer 2.0v3, January 22, 1998
From: Ed Scott <>
To: "Wind Talk" <>
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Since the list is a little dead, and I've got some spare time on my
hands, I thought I'd post a couple rescue stories.

The first one is the "rescue" of some jet-skiiers off Third on Sep. 18.
Here's the report:

Imagine getting a couple brand-new Ski-Doos from the Honda Dealer on a
season close-out. Imagine that you're itching to get the machines out on
the water. The kids are buggin' you "Please daddy, can we go, can we
go?" Hey, no problem, the Bay is a small body of water. Hey, what's a
small craft advisory anyway, it's still summer, we don't need no stinkin'
wetsuits, do we? Let's go kids. You and your buddy load up the
jet-skiis, the kids and the wife and launch from Coyote Point.

It's about 4 o'clock and it's starting to get a little rough. The swells
are really starting to jack up, and the wind is howling. The windsurfers
are lovin' it, there's tons of 'em around you. The wife and the kids (5
and 6, respectively), start to get a little scared, and the wife's eyes
look as big as "dinner plates." The jetski gets a little tippy, and the
five year-old starts really panicking. He panics so much that the jetski
goes over. Wife and kids in the water. Moreover, the 5 year-old kicks
the key out of the ignition. There's no tether, and it doesn't have a
float on it. A couple windsurfers stop and pick up your wife and stay
with her. You start swimming towards your now drifting jetski, which is
headed towards the San Mateo bridge, and you still can't find the key.
Your buddy picks up the kids, but they're having a hard time staying with
ski which is now 100 yards away.

This is where I show up. I'm on my 4.9 and I'm slightly overpowerd. I
expected to be on my 4.4 in no time this day, and I'm really overpowered
at first, but it settles down to a slightly op'd normal 4.9 day. Wife is
in the water with two windsurfers (1 named Ricky, the other I'm not
sure). I see two little kids scared shitless, one of whom keeps falling
off and dumping one of the skis. It's blowing at least 22, and the
swells are jacking up nicely, 3-4'. One guy is in the water about 50
yards from the operable jetski, and about 100 from the inoperable one
which is drifting towards the SM Bridge. Nobody is wearing wetsuits, but
everyone has PFD's thankfully. The guy in the water asks me if I've
"seen" a key. Yeah right.

Anyway, I believe that adults can be left to the mercy of their own
folly, but they have no business getting small kids involved in this.
I'm not sure if jetskiier in the water is ever gonna get to his ski, and
it's a foregone conclusinon that he's not gonna get is started. I get
the Coast Guard on the horn and explain the situation while I'm in the
channel. It takes awhile to get past the "who am I, what kind of vessel
I'm on, etc..." but Foster City Radio (CG Auxilliary) and Coast Guard
Station San Francicsco respond. Note that if you're calling or have ever
called from the Peninsula, chances are it will be Bonnie of FC Radio who
will respond. Be nice to her. She is a nice lady, and it seems these
folks are more than willing to help out. I think it's her husband who
drives the black Mercedes who usually shows up at Third when rescues

Well, these boneheads on the jetskiis were, to put it mildly, were
ill-prepared to handle the situation. Not to mention that they had no
radio, and no towline. I explain to the CG the situation, the
description of the skiis, our approximate position. I also explain that
there were small children who were involved, and that I'm not sure if
they're ever going to recover their other ski, much less get everyone
back to shore on the one operational jetski remaining. It takes a few
minutes with the wind howling in my ear, a channel switch to 22 (typical
in these situations), but they finally agree to send a boat out to

In the meantime, someone lends operational jetskiier a towline, and he
manages to stabilize the kids in front of him. He catches up with his
drifting buddy, now well inside the channel. His buddy grabs the back of
the ski and he tows him over to the dead ski, which has drifted about 1/4
of a mile downwind from my position. Anyway, after a few more minutes,
they manage to tow the dead ski with the buddy perched on it back to the
windsurfers in the water with the wife. Unfortunately, everytime she
trys to mount the ski with her husband on it, she dumps the ski. It
finally takes a few more minutes, she now freezing cold, gets on the ski,
and her husband gets in the water behind the ski to keep it from
capsizing. They manage to tow back inside the channel marker and back
north towards Coyote Point.

I tell the folks to check in with the harbormaster at Coyote Point and
similarly explain this to the CG. In retrospect, I should've told them
to head straight to shore, but figured that it was low-tide about that
time, they were inside the channel marker, and they would probably make
it. I also inform the Coast Guard and keep my eyes on them as long as
possible, to make sure there's no misunderstanding. I last see them up
near the dump about .75 miles out from shore. The last I speak to the
Coast Guard, they say the harbormaster sees them. I'm hoping he gives
them a piece of his mind.

Anyway, a 41 foot boat cruises the channel about 30 minutes later. As
far as I know it was a happy ending, but I was really upset that someone
would have the gall to put his kids in this situation.

So that's the story. Sorry it's so long-winded, but some of you might be
wondering what all the commotion was about and I thought I'd give you a


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