Kayakers rescued from Boston Harbor buoy after being spotted by somebody with binoculars at JFK Library

Boston Police report a kayak trip into Dorchester Bay went awry for two men yesterday afternoon after their kayak took on water and sank, forcing them - and their dog - to swim through 40-degree waters to a nearby buoy, which they grabbed onto, hoping for rescue.

The people suffered severe hypothermia but survived, police say. The dog, however, died.

Police say that, fortunately for the people, somebody on a tour of the JFK Library on Columbia Point turned his binoculars towards the bay, spotted the two at the top of the buoy and called the Coast Guard. A BPD harbor-unit boat then rushed to the buoy, getting there around 6:15 p.m. after the trio had spent about an hour on the navigational marker.

The men were taken to a local hospital for treatment, police say. The dog's body was taken to Angell Animal Medical Center.

Police say they two had launched their kayak from Carson Beach and made it out into Dorchester Bay when strong winds and choppy seas "became overwhelming" and they tried to turn back, only to have their kayak capsize.


Free tagging: 



Needless tragedy

By on

Life vests? Any life safety equipment on board? Did they tell anyone else their plans?

Come on, people, the stupid kills.


The wind picked up suddenly yesterday

I was on an inland lake when it did. But that is why I was wearing a personal flotation device, had told my family where I was going to be, had a boat capable of handling the conditions, etc. I had a very fun ride into shore by keeping the wind square to my back, but it would have been a gnarly fight had the wind been coming out of the North. Had I swamped or capsized I could have made it to shore.

These things happen on the water. They happen all year, but the margin of error is slimmer with the cold water under the hull.

I learned this lesson very early on. I was in an eight on the Charles one March day during spring break. The air temp was in the 70s and we were all wearing shorts and t-shirts. Out on the water, a gale force wind kicked up and we were swamped. I was in the water longer than others because I turned back to haul in the coxswain and her two sodden cotton sweat suits. The two of us were grabbed at the dock by a dozen hands each and dragged out of the water into the boathouse by the crews that didn't launch. We were immediately immersed in the whirlpools used for injury therapy.

The water was 36F. My body temperature was 94F.

Don't play games with springtime boating.

RIP doggo.


Point of reference

By on

With a body core temperature of 94F body core temperature, you're hypothermic, and you'll be experiencing some of the symptoms that make it so dangerous: clumsiness, drowsiness, lack of judgment, possibly combative behavior with rescuers. Hypthermic people lose their ability to help themselves or assist with rescue.


It felt like being drunk

I somehow swam us a couple hundred yards to the dock, but after that I was just a jelly blob. Nothing moved right, I was loopy as hell. The coxswain and I were joking about how she was really supposed to go down with the ship. I was an extremely strong swimmer and got to the dock before they could set up the rescue, but then I was totally useless. Being pulled from the water and hauled upstairs felt like weightlessness. I was so focused on my task I had no clue the trouble I was in.

I'm just glad that I learned all this while surrounded by other people who knew what to do.


Years ago

An insurance underwriter told me that sea kayaking was the single most dangerous activity that he saw people engaging in -- more dangerous than motorcycle racing, or mountain climbing, or scuba diving.

Addition: His common mishap had the kayakers losing sight of land and not being able to tell direction, due to fog or overcast. Once they achieved that condition, they were at the mercy of currents, exposure, Jaws, the Bangor Packet, and all the other things that can ruin a small-boat outing. A compass, even a tiny compass, would seem to be a minimum requirement for venturing onto ocean waters.


Shouldn't be there in the first place

His common mishap had the kayakers losing sight of land and not being able to tell direction, due to fog or overcast.

Forget a compass, 99.99% of kayakers shouldn't put themselves in this position in the first place. As noted elsewhere here, doing something like that demonstrates a total disrespect for the ocean and no situational awareness. I'm guessing people are totally oblivious to the risks. I'm not saying not to have a compass, but people shouldn't come even close to ever needing one.

Personally, I find paddling way out in the open water is pretty boring and unnecessary unless you're doing a crossing to a destination. I much prefer going right along shore where you can see stuff on shore and in the water. Just outside the breaking waves and among the rocks is perfect,

Thank you

Today, I will wear my High Boots and change my shirt in tribute to your perspicacity.

All I could find were

By on

All I could find were references to a rowing shell so named. Is it a northbound current or something?

Here you go

"Bert and I" were two fishermen aboard the ill-fated Bluebird, out of Kennebunkport, which sinks after being sliced in two in the fog by the steamer Bangor Packet.

I wonder

By on

if it was those morons who were posted on here yesterday?


I doubt it

By on

That was no kayak. Also, they were near Long Wharf (look at the positioning of the Nantucket Light Ship in the background), not Carson Beach


No it wasn't

By on

2 male morons, not 2 male morons and 1 female moron.


By on

Too dangerous to go out in the bay like that with the strong winds. I would’ve worn swimmies and put a similar floatation device on the dog.



By on

I only feel sorry for the dog.

I'm sorry, doggo, that the person who was supposed to protect you instead put you in danger and you died.

You didn't deserve that.

Rest in peace, sweet dog.


They should

By on

just like people who bring their dog running. Guess what? Your dog does not want to go for a 3 mile jog.

and so should...

just like people who bring their dog running. Guess what? Your dog does not want to go for a 3 mile jog.

And the folk who never take their dog running, causing it to suffer from malaise and obesity, they should be similarly charged, no?


By on

you are right. My dog would rather go for a 15-mile sprint...not a 3-mile jog. Had to move away from Boston in the past few months because the dog's quality of life just wasn't cutting it up there

People under-estimate cold water

Just because it's a nice day doesn't mean the water is warm. It's in the upper 40s at best (https://www.seatemperature.org/north-america/united-states/boston.htm) That's around 30 minutes to unconsciousness (http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/coastal_communities/hypothermia)

If you've never gone unexpectedly into cold water, you can't appreciate how instantly debilitating it is. It's not like strength or willpower is going to help either: the chemical reactions that cause your muscles to work just don't happen the way they're supposed to


Hell, I've been nearly debilitated

By on

by a dunk in the ocean in Maine in late July. The ocean is basically an infinite thermal sink--doesn't matter what the weather is today, it matters what the weather has been for the last month or so, from here to Cancun.

Don't mess with cold water, kids.


These kayakers

By on

and the ones from the other day are buffoons. Along with all the nitwits sailing on the Charles. The water temperature in March is the same as January. Unless you are in a dry suit, stay off the water.


People sail all winter racing dinghies and are called frostbiters. Capsizes happen and that's why there is a powerboat right there to help get them out of the water immediately.
There, now you know.

Springtime boating is suuuuper dangerous

By on

Springtime boating is really dangerous, for a whole lot of reasons: the cold water, which others have mentioned; fewer people on the water to save you if you get into trouble; skills rusty after a winter away; gear possibly in need of repair/with issues that haven't been addressed ("yeah, I'll deal with that in the spring"); the fact that the people most likely to make all the previous mistakes are the least likely to have the skills, knowledge and judgment to deal with a situation that goes pear-shaped. On whitewater/moving water you have the added dangers of high flows and a winter's worth of debris. IIRC spring is the highest fatality period according to USCG.

If you go boating at this time of year, please: make damn sure you have the chops for it. That means experience, physical conditioning, knowledge of local conditions, and all the right gear. If you have any doubts at all, stay out of the water.


Some basic things

1. check the weather
2. let people know where you are going
3. bring safety gear: pfd, etc.
4. don't over do it
5. stay close to shore
6. don't go out on the ocean or harbor or any big river unless you have all the gear and training for the water temperature
7. dry bag your phone and physically attach it to your body so you can call for help if things go bad
8. Be willing to give up and go ashore - you can always call a cab or ride share to take you back to your car.
9. Be willing to just say "not here" and "not today"

I'm sure others here can add to this. Err on the side of caution - don't exceed your ability to self rescue - know your limits and escape routes.



By on

For a state that's as strict and controlling about much more insignificant things, MA requires basically nothing in terms of boater's education before hitting the water. This isn't just kayaks, sailboats, or unpowered vessels. It's far too common to see inexperienced people with more money than sense motoring and tossing a wake inside harbors and channels. OUI is also rampant, and these are boaters who can't tell port from starboard to begin with.

There is a youth course, since boating licenses for up to a certain size vessel are only required for that age range. Pretty sad when the 13 year old kid knows better than the adult.

No respect for the ocean

Here's my list of reasons why I think these two screwed up.

- It's March, the water is still cold. Dress for ending up in the water, meaning at least a wet suit. Luckily, I've never had a bad experience in cold water, but have heard enough stories to know that you go downhill very quickly.

- Sounds like they didn't have a skirt on their boat because it filled up with water. On the ocean, you use a skirt. Especially in March. No exceptions.

- This time of year, with cold water and nobody else out there, you don't take chances. The two were out by Thompson Island - stupid. You stay close to shore, you continuously watch the weather, and don't take chances. It's like winter hiking where small mishaps get magnified very quickly. There isn't much room for error.

Sorry, I'm not going to listen to any stories about the weather suddenly changing. First, the weather did exactly as forecasted. Second, you simply don't put yourself in that position, like going to Thompson I. in March.

These guys showed no respect for the ocean. Poor pooch paid for their arrogance.



By on

Sounds like they didn't have a skirt on their boat because it filled up with water. On the ocean, you use a skirt. Especially in March. No exceptions.

They could have had a flimsy nylon skirt that got blown off the rim as soon as it hit anything substantial, but yeah, probably no skirt. The only time to do that is in warm weather with warm water on ponds and small lakes. Anywhere else, use a skirt, and if the water is cold and/or water is rough, it better be neoprene.

Don't try to

By on

Don't try to bring your dog on adventures. They don't have Instagram and social media to brag to other dogs about living their best lives. They'd probably be happier not risking their lives for fun. Bad owners.

Don't leave them

Don't try to bring your dog on adventures.

Don't leave your dog languishing around the house where the view never changes. Most breeds were bred to work. They become depressed and neurotic.


Apparently, you don't follow campingwithdogs on Instagram. ;-)

Great photos of happy dogs in various states of adventure.