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FWC, Coast Guard searching for kayaker

3:59 PM, Oct 15, 2012   |    comments
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SUWANNEE, Fla. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the United States Coast Guard are searching for a kayaker after he failed to return Sunday.

The Coast Guard is assisting the FWC's search for 45-year-old James F. McDonald who did not return in his 14-foot kayak Sunday.

Family members reported McDonald overdue to the FWC, who then contacted the Coast Guard to aid in the search.

McDonald left October 9 for a camping and kayaking trip.  He has not been seen since.

The Coast Guard offered the following tips as reminders to kayakers:

  • File a float plan. This includes telling family or friends where you are going, what you will be doing and how long you expect to be gone.
  • Wear a life jacket. Coast Guard regulations require that all kayaks have a life jacket on board. There are life jackets designed specifically for paddlers. Buy one that fits well and always wear it while you paddle.
  • Be aware of weather conditions and water temperature.  Prepare for changes in weather and always remember to dress for the water not the weather.
  • Stay hydrated. Bring plenty of water and food in case of emergencies.
  • Seek qualified instruction to learn proper paddling techniques, water safety and basic first aid.
  • Bring a VHF-FM radio. A cell phone is a good backup plan but will sometimes not get reception in certain areas.

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