Stranded Windsurfer Calls for Help from SF Bay

Man radioed for help from chilly water

By Jessica Greene
|  Monday, Mar 15, 2010  |  Updated 8:00 AM PDT
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Stranded Windsurfer Calls for Help from SF Bay

Digital Smith on Flickr

A man enjoys a day of windsurfing in the bay.

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A Coast Guard official is crediting the use of handheld VHF radio with helping to find a windsurfer who lost his board in San Francisco Bay.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Jeremy Pichette says the windsurfer was able contact the Coast Guard on his radio after becoming stranded in the waters near the San Mateo Bridge around 5:20 p.m. Saturday.

"This is a great example of why we urge water enthusiasts to carry these radios," Pichette said. "Without the radio, things might have turned out differently."

The Coast Guard relayed the call for help to all boaters in the vicinity and dispatched their rescue team, including a helicopter and 25-foot boat. But it was a private citizen in a boat who ended up pulling the windsurfer out of the water about 30 minutes after the initial call.

The water was about 54 degrees Saturday afternoon. The windsurfer was taken to a Redwood City hospital to recover.

The Coast Guard urges all kitesurfers, windsurfers and other seafaring enthusiasts to carry a VHF radio in case they run into an emergency and need to call for help. Boaters should also carry a flare and an emergency position locater beacon that sends a signal to the Coast Guard if the vessel sinks.

Anyone venturing out on the open sea should always file a float plan to let everyone know where they're going, Coast Guard officials say. The new way to file a float plan? Simply send a text or post your plans on Facebook, the Coast Guard suggests.

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