On Human Rights Day, the Jeffreys Bay National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) received a call from the local paramedic services reporting accounts of a man being blown out to sea on a sea kayak near Aston Bay.
Eye witnesses said that the man was trying to paddle towards shore against a strong off shore wind that had suddenly developed but was being steadily blown further out to sea.
The NSRI Jeffreys Bay duty crew were called out and managed to establish contact with the man, 40 year old Hayden Bailey, from Jeffreys Bay, after he had used his cellphone to call NSRI St Francis Bay requesting urgent assistance.
The Discovery Rescue Runner was launched and on arrival at Aston Bay, sight of the man had been lost and a search from his last known position was started.
In a wind gusting over 25 knots and a heavy sea swell the NSRI continued a search pattern heading steadily further out to sea.
Hayden managed to spot the NSRI’s highly visible sea rescue craft. Using his cellphone he guided the NSRI towards him. He was rescued 2 nautical miles off shore and his sea kayak was also saved.
Hayden was not injured and he told Station Commander Rieghard Janse van Rensburg that the off shore wind had suddenly picked up while he was paddling along the coast and the wind blew him out to sea despite his best efforts to paddle towards the shore.
Hayden was reunited with his fiancee who had waited anxiously on shore for news of his fate.
The NSRI commended Hayden for having a cell phone while out paddling and for storing the local sea rescue emergency phone number into his phone.
“The cellphone communication certainly helped in this case. Our Discovery rescue runner is certainly a lot more visible than a sea kayak and his cell phone was an essential piece of safety equipment that could well have saved his life,” said base commander Rieghard Janse Van Rensburg.