Jet skier found safe after two hours in Tahoe

Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District Boats search for a missing Genoa man on Monday evening. The last week has seen four major rescues efforts off Douglas County's Lake Tahoe shore.

Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District Boats search for a missing Genoa man on Monday evening. The last week has seen four major rescues efforts off Douglas County's Lake Tahoe shore.
Eric Guevin | Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District


A 45-year-old man was found safe after two hours floating in Lake Tahoe when a riderless rented jet ski was found off Cave Rock in Lake Tahoe on Wednesday night.

It was the fourth major water rescue off Douglas County’s shore in a week.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard a report of a drifting jet ski off Cave Rock came in at around 5:30 p.m.

Douglas County, Tahoe-Douglas Fire District, South Lake Tahoe, the Nevada Division of Wildlife and Care Flight aided in the search, which occurred just two days after a Genoa man drowned off Marla Bay.

The man was last seen wearing a yellow life jacket and gray shorts in the 65-degree water.

The Coast Guard Station Lake Tahoe boat crew located the man alert, conscious and wearing a lifejacket. He was safely transported to emergency medical services.

“This is a situation that could have ended very differently if this individual did not have a lifejacket on,” said Sector San Francisco commander Capt. Taylor Lam. “More than 75 percent of recreational boating accidents result in drownings and more than 85 percent of those victims were not wearing lifejackets.”

The Coast Guard recommends mariners heed the following safety tips below to help ensure their safety while on the water:

• Always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while underway.

• Make sure that there is at least one properly fitted life jacket for every passenger and that the life jackets are readily accessible if not worn. All children under 13 must wear a life jacket at all times.

• Make sure your life jacket is properly fitted. People can slip out of ill-fitting life jackets when they hit the water, which decreases their chances of survival.

• Don’t drink and boat. Aside from wearing a life jacket, not drinking and boating is one of the easiest ways to prevent accidental deaths on the water. People operating vessels under the influence of alcohol, drugs or impairing medication pose a serious threat to you and anyone else aboard.

• Make a VHF radio your go-to means of communicating in an emergency. Cell phones may go out of range or lose battery power when needed most. Make sure you familiarize yourself with how to use it.

• Take a boating safety course. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is one of many organizations that offer valuable boating safety courses ranging from electronic navigation to boat handling. Click here to register for a boating safety course.

• Get a vessel safety check. The Coast Guard Auxiliary provides free boating safety checks. Get a free safety inspection from the Coast Guard Auxiliary to make sure you have all the gear and safety equipment required by your state and federal laws. Click here to find one near you.

• Look at the weather and tides before you head out. It might look like a nice day, but squalls and shifting tides can change suddenly.

File a float plan. Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Float plans provide a starting point to help find you if something happens.

• Dress for the water, not for the weather. Check water temperatures before you go out and dress accordingly.

• Know your navigation rules. Know how to properly navigate waterways and maintain lookouts to keep yourself and everyone else around you safe.

• Locator beacons can help us find you faster. Attaching a functioning EPIRB to your boat, or a PPIRB to your life jacket, and knowing how to use them can help rescuers find and help you. In order to be most effective, these should be registered with the owner’s information and emergency contacts.

• Label kayaks and paddlecraft. The Coast Guard often comes across adrift paddlecraft, and when they are properly labeled, it is easier for rescue personnel to confirm if there is an actual distress and save countless hours of searching when a person is not in distress.

• Check out the Coast Guard Boating Safety app. You can file a float plan, request assistance, request a vessel safety check, and report pollution and hazards to navigation.


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