Sea Scouts Perform Impromptu Rescue

Courtesy photo    Alameda Sea Scouts, left to right: Kenny Kirwin, 18; Mason Ensley, 16; Cole Harris, 18; and Johnny Amaden, 13 rescued a kayaker in distress from the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay.

Members of the Sea Scouts, Alameda Council rescued a missing distressed kayaker in San Francisco Bay near Pittsburg on July 20.

The Sea Scouts, a branch of the Boy Scouts of America, were going on a scouting cruise on their Sea Scout Ship No. 9 Sea Fox from Hunter’s Point in San Francisco to Pittsburg in the early morning hours of Friday, July 20.

“When we began our travel one of the members heard the Coast Guard broadcast on the radio transmission to keep a look out for a missing person,” said Sea Scout skipper Ken Shupe who was a part of the rescue. “But while the Coast Guard said tokeep look out we were several miles east.” 

However, as the crew, consisting of Shupe and four members of the Sea Scouts, Kenny Kirwin, Mason Ensley, Cole Harris and Johnny Amaden, were traveling, they spotted something in the water. 

“We saw this dark shape in the water. At first I thought it was trash,” said Shupe. “As we approached we saw the guy hanging onto the side of his kayak.” 

The crew made contact with the missing kayaker, identified as Oscar, around 2:30 a.m. Shupe said the man told him he capsized around sunset the previous night, which he believes would be around 8:30 p.m. Thursday night. The man was submerged in the 60-degree water for what Shupe believes had to be at least six hours. The crew pulled Oscar onto their vessel and began to administer aid. 

“First we looked for any serious injuries,” said Shupe. “His shirt was ripped, but we did not see any cuts on his body. Then we began to treat him for hypothermia.”

Oscar was shivering and slurring his words, which are signs of hypothermia. The scouts gave him room-temperature water. “Giving him hot water could send the body into shock,” said Shupe. They also covered him with multiple blankets. 

As time went on Oscar began to show signs of improvement. He was able to verbalize his ordeal. He said while hanging onto his inflatable kayak in the water, two vessels passed by before the Sea Scouts rescued him.

The crew radioed the Coast Guard that they recovered the victim. The Coast Guard dispatched a small boat to their location. The Coast Guard arrived around 3 a.m. and took Oscar to a local hospital for further treatment. 

The Sea Scouts are a branch of the Boy Scouts of America. They take part in nautical activities including sailing, scuba diving and other boating activates. Members must be between 13 and 21 years old.