Marine Police Make A “Swell” Save

Today’s Westport Historical Society kayak trip to Cockenoe Island was not exactly a day at the beach. WHS executive director Sue Gold writes:

Our 5th annual trip was hardly smooth rowing, as we quickly found out once we were a half mile offshore.

The swells were high, even though no boats were in sight. We were about 25 strong, but although the spirit was willing, Mother Nature was not.

The scene from a previous Westport Historical Society kayak trip to Cockenoe Island. This year's weather was less pleasant.

The scene from a previous Westport Historical Society kayak trip to Cockenoe Island. This year’s weather was less pleasant.

Our 2-person kayak was overwhelmed by relentless waves. Though both of us are strong and seasoned boaters, we were captive to the water that quickly filled our boat. We were forced to evacuate, fortunately onto a nearby sandbar.

We were like drowned rats, cold and shivering in the water with a boat we had no way to bail out. Peter Jennings expertly handled his safety boat to get us out of the water, but it was Bob Myer of the Westport Marine Police Unit who saved the day.

He got the kayak in his motor boat, pulled us on board, covered me with a medical blanket (my teeth were chattering), and got us back to the marina safe and sound. He then went out and rescued others on the tour as well.

Everyone got back safely. We applaud the Westport Police Department, who are there in a heartbeat to provide the most caring, compassionate and exceptional service to all in need.

One of the Westport Police Marine Unit's 2 boats. (Photo/

One of the Westport Police Marine Unit’s 2 boats. (Photo/

PS: Once we got back and my partner tossed me the car keys from the boat — well, they never made it into my hands. They now lie on the bottom of the Sound.

Fortunately, a diver overheard our dilemma and said he’s happy to take a look next week and fetch them for us. The giving never stops.

4 responses to “Marine Police Make A “Swell” Save

  1. Stephanie Bass

    Glad they saved you, Sue. We need more people like you running things in this town.

  2. Hey Dan! My good friend, Joanne Reeves, and I also participated in today’s kayaking adventure! We, too, experienced rough seas but luckily were not flooded, but very, very close! Good thing because we are far from ‘strong and seasoned boaters’ and today was actually the first time I kayaked on the sound!
    I took some pics with my waterproof camera while out there (including the WPD rescuing Sue Gold!) which I will email you separately! Can’t wait to the 6th annual trip especially since, after today, we are now we strong and seasoned boaters!

  3. I would suggest that precautions be taken next year so that this type of situation doesn’t happen again. It’s no laughing matter to be caught in rough seas – even close to shore. What started out as an enjoyable expedition could have resulted in a disaster. Always check the marine weather conditions before setting out! And, thanks yet again to the Westport Marine Police Unit for coming to the rescue!

  4. The marine forecast was for 10 to 15 knot winds from the East and Northeast and with the wind coming from that direction it was not blocked by any land mass and had time to churn up some waves. The PR for the event required “intermediate level kayak ability” and (also) unfortunately sit-on-top type kayaks do not do well in that type of environment. Sue’s boat was the only one that got into some trouble and no one else needed to be “rescued.” A few of the more senior aged (and cold) kayakers chose not to paddle back from Cockenoe Is and got a ride back with the marine police. Wearing cotton clothing rather than high performance synthetics may have left a few people unprepared and cold. Every year we enjoy the assistance of Peter in a power boat in case of any trouble as safety is of utmost importance. Having said that, in hindsight, we should have chosen better weather. This story is about some rough seas, but the story not told is how nearly everybody enjoyed the outing including hearing about the history and conservation of the island, the Saugatuck River watershed and the time spent walking around its shores. A bunch of pictures will be posted Tues morning (9/16) by Miggs B and myself at: