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Cold water, Beer and Kayaks don't mix

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Beer drinking kayakers rescued from Puget Sound waters


by KING 5 and Staff


SEATTLE -- Two men are learning a valuable lesson: don't drink and kayak.

Seattle police believe alcohol was a factor after the two men, 36 and 28, attempted to kayak from Bainbridge Island to Seattle in the middle of the night Thursday and capsized in the Puget Sound waters.

A 911 call was received around 2:00 a.m. from the girlfriend of one of the kayakers. She had gotten a call from her boyfriend's friend, who used his cell from from the middle of Puget Sound to tell her they were in trouble. Police say the 36-year-old reported his companion had flipped over and was clinging to the kayak's hull.

Once they received the call, the Coast Guard and Fire Department scrambled to find the pair. They found them bobbing about two miles from Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood and pulled them aboard a fire boat.

"Luckily we had people on shore with binoculars scanning the water and we were able to locate two what appeared to be flashing lights that were going up and down with the waves," said Batt. Chief Alan Cox, Seattle Fire Dept. "We sent one of the boats over to investigate and they were identified as the two kayakers."

Police say the two men had apparently been watching the Texas-Alabama game on TV and having some beer. During the game around 8 p.m., they decided to go for a trip in the kayaks. They apparently started from the Bermerton side of the sound.

Officers said when they pulled them from the water, they could smell a very strong odor of beer on the two. The two men were wearing street clothing and personal flotation devices, but no wet suits.

The two men had been in the water for nearly an hour. One was able to walk ashore and was sent home. Officers said the other was very cold and could barely speak coherently. He was taken by stretcher to Harborview Medical Center and treated for hypothermia. He is in satisfactory condition and is expected to completely recover.

"With air and water temperatures in the 40s, rescuers say it's fortunate the two men escaped with just a trip to the hospital," said Cox.

KING 5's Jennifer Cabala and Deborah Feldman contributed to this report



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View Postive drank a few brews and kayaked before but never get completely drunk and try to kayak



Drinking responsibly would not be a problem. Although how do you determine if you are not legally drunk after a few brews?


"In theory, a 160-pound person can drink four 12-ounce bottles of 'average strength' beer in an hour before his or her blood alcohol level reaches .08 percent and five before it gets to .10 percent.
After 48 ounces in the first hour, that same "average" person need drink only 12 more ounces in the next hour to have a blood alcohol level of .09 percent."


Although I think that alcohol and cold (water) do not mix since alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, which shifts blood flow to the surface of the skin where nerve endings respond to changes in temperature. A gallon of 99-degree blood flowing past our natural thermometers makes us feel all warm and cozy. (Anyone who's sipped hot toddies by the fire knows that feeling.).


Alcohol does nothing to warm us up and is a quick way to get hypothermia in a cold environment. Personally I don't drink any kind of liquor while out on the water, cold weather/water or not. I may have a cold one as a landing celebration for a good day of fishing. But never on the water.


These guys were lucky to have survived.

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