Saturday, December 03, 2011

The tragic death of two sea kayakers on Port Phillip Bay

Two sea kayakers headed out for a fishing trip from Sandringham early on Tuesday 29 November 2011.  They were reported missing that evening.

Unfortunately, they were both found dead in the water the following day, with one kayak and body washed up near the Patterson River and the other located in the water just offshore from Seaford.  Both were reported to be wearing life jackets.

Police investigating sea kayak at Seaford.  Source: The Age

Sea kayak on the beach at Seaford. Source: Trevor Pinder, Heraldsun

The kayaks were "sit on" craft that were setup for fishing and had small electric motors.  You can see a paddle still attached to one craft in the photos, so they were equipped with a double-bladed kayak paddle too.

Looking at the wind graph for the day, strong northerlies came in during the morning, which may have blown them offshore and into difficulty.


Around 2pm the wind changed to a westerly, also around 25 knots, which would have carried them across to where they were eventually found.

There will be Coroner's inquest into this, but it may take a year or so to deliver findings.

This tragedy highlights the need for caution on Port Phillip Bay with any water activity.
  • It is well worth seeking local advice before heading out on an adventure, whether it be sailing, kitesurfing, fishing or SUPing.  Check the weather forecast and if in doubt, don't go out.
  • Consider carrying a Personal Locator Beacon.
  • Tell someone your trip intentions before you go.
  • Wear a wetsuit or equivalent clothing to keep you warm if you end up spending time in the water.  You can get "hydroskin" and other specialist clothing for kayaking that allows good movement but can still keep you warm if immersed.
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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Helpful summary of events.
I heard about this and wanted to check the details. All in one spot.

Zara Whitaker said...

Well it was sad to know the deaths of that men and I think this tragedy has highlighted the call for vigilance on Port Phillip Bay.
Maryland kiteboarding shop

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