On April 23, 2023 at 12:30pm, Delaware City Fire Company along with marine units from Good Will Fire Company, Port Penn Volunteer Fire Company, Holloway Terrace Fire Co., Salem County New Jersey, Delaware DNREC, Delaware State Police Aviation Section helicopter Trooper 4, BLS ambulances from Delaware City and Christiana Fire, and New Castle County Paramedics were dispatched to the Delaware River in the area of Pea Patch Island for an overturned kayak with two subjects in the water. The two occupants of the kayak were wearing Personal Flotation Devices (PDFs), had a cell phone, and a waterproof bag to keep the cell phone dry. Watchstanders at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay notified vessels in the area and assisted with coordinating resources. Fireboat 15 quickly arrived in the area and began searching along with Good Samaritan vessels while Trooper 4 searched from the air. The subjects were located within 20 minutes and were brought aboard Fireboat 15 and taken to the state dock in Delaware City where they were assessed by EMS but ultimately declined transport. DNREC retrieved the kayak which was also taken to the state dock.
Despite warm air temperatures, remember that water temperatures still remain in the low 50's. It can take as little as 15 minutes for hypothermia to set in with these water temperatures. Several factors helped keep these kayakers alive. First, they were wearing PFD's. Second, they had a means of communication (cell phone) to call for help which was kept in a waterproof bag. Third, a fast, well coordinate response by first responders helped to quickly rescue them. Remember to always file a float plan (you can use the USCG app or let family/friends know where you will be going and when you should be expected to return). Make sure to have contact information labeled on your kayak until it is located. And finally, keep an eye on the weather. Despite a sunny day, high winds led to choppy water conditions which were unsafe for smaller vessels.
Great work by all responders with a successful rescue!