Second kayaker in two weeks rescued off Bayonne

Fire Chief Keith Weaver warned residents to always wear a life vest

Bayonne Fire Department helped rescue a kayaker in distress on May 2.
Bayonne Fire Department helped rescue a kayaker in distress on May 2.

While many choose to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some have other plans. For two Bayonne residents, that meant kayaking, unsuccessfully, in the Hudson River.

For the second time in two weeks, the Bayonne Fire Department has rescued a kayaker in distress in the waterways around the city. The incident occurred on May 2.

Fire Chief Kieth Weaver said that Bayonne Public Safety dispatchers received a call about a kayaker in distress “between Elizabeth and the Bayonne Bridge” at approximately 2:45 p.m. The Bayonne Fire Department Marine Unit investigated the report.

On arrival first responders located a vessel whose occupants had pulled the stranded kayaker onto their boat. From there, the victim was placed on the Bayonne Fire Department Marine Unit boat and transported to the 16th Street Boat Dock.

Once on the dock, the victim was met by McCabe Ambulance to assess his condition. The victim told authorities that he was on the water approximately 30 minutes before being rescued.

“Today’s rescue tells us two things,” Weaver said. “First, how important it is to always wear a life vest, as a life vest saved this man’s life. Secondly, the quickness and professionalism of the members of the Bayonne Fire Department is something we should all be proud of.”

Another kayaker was rescued after a distress call only a few weeks ago. It seems people are resorting to kayaking to enjoy nature and keep busy while social distancing during the pandemic.

Kayaking: a pandemic trend?

According to Weaver, members of the BFD responded to reports of a kayaker in distress in the waters off the city on April 18.

Responding firefighters found a man clinging to his kayak in the middle of the inlet that separates the peninsula at the former Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY) and the LeFante Way Shopping Plaza. At the scene, first responders communicated with the stranded kayaker using a bullhorn and determined that he was wearing a life vest.

The victim was approximately 100 yards from either shore and was unreachable except by boat, Weaver said. The BFD vessel successfully reached the man and pulled him to safety.

The victim was transported by the BFD Marine unit to the United States Coast Guard station for further transportation. At the Coast Guard station, the conscious and alert man was met and treated by McCabe Ambulance EMTs who subsequently transported him to Bayonne Medical Center. No further information has been released regarding the man’s condition.

The Bayonne Police Department, McCabe Ambulance, New York Police Department Marine and Aviation units, Port Authority Police, and Bayonne Office of Emergency Management all responded, according to Weaver.

“Far too often, people run into trouble in the rough waters around Bayonne, but due to the quick action of our Fire Department and other first responders, this young man will be able to tell this story,” Weaver said. “This is a great example of how wearing a life vest prevented a tragedy.”

Meanwhile, Mayor James Davis reminded residents in a daily COVID-19 update to continue to follow Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home order and social distancing measures to help curtail the spread of the pandemic.

And the likelihood of another water rescue?

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