A man was found clinging to an overturned kayak in the West River last night. He was conscious and suffering from hypothermia.
According to the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP), the man, a Shady Side resident, was spotted by the crew of the vessel Our Diamond. The paddler said he had been in the water “for hours.”
The man was wearing a life jacket, NRP spokesperson Candy Thomson says.
The NRP says Our Diamond picked up the paddler and his kayak. Both were then transferred onto another boat, Rise and Shine, which brought them to the Rhode River Marina.
The kayaker was taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center by the county fire department. His body temperature was reported to be approximately 82 degrees.
Thomson notes that between the low water temperatures, which have been hovering in the 48-50 degree range, and the lack of boat traffic last night, it was a close call for the kayaker.
There have been four boating fatalities in the past three weeks in Maryland, which is half of last year’s total. The NRP says the victims were not wearing life jackets.
In light of the high number of fatalities and the anticipated increase in boat traffic due to the beginning of the recreational striped bass fishing season this weekend, Thomson says the NRP and several partner agencies will hold a briefing on boating safety initiatives at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 20 at Sandy Point State Park.
In addition to continuing to stress the importance of wearing life jackets, the NRP also wants “to remind boaters that winter is lingering and water temperatures remain dangerously low,” says Thomson.