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High winds, waves blamed in kayaker's death in O.C.
By MICHAEL MILLER Staff Writer, (609) 463-6712
Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2005

OCEAN CITY-State Marine Police concluded their investigation into the drowning of a 75-year-old kayaker from Malvern, Pa.

But the investigation turned up few additional clues into what caused Donald Rogge's 9-foot kayak to capsize in Ocean City's back bay on Thanksgiving.

Rogge kayaked in the bay for four hours. At about 5:30 p.m., he landed the kayak at the island nearest Ocean City just across from the Route 52 drawbridge. This island is home to the Ocean City Welcome Center. He walked up the bridge's narrow catwalk to the bridge tender's building and asked to borrow a phone.

State Police Trooper Perry Capiak said Rogge phoned his family to let them know he would be late but would be home shortly. Then he launched his kayak from the Welcome Center island and headed off into the darkness across the bay toward 18th Street.

Rogge's family reported him missing and overdue about 7 p.m., prompting a search by the U.S. Coast Guard, State Marine Police and the Ocean City Fire Department. Rogge's body was found about two hours later floating in the 54-degree water in a life vest near his kayak near 12th Street. He was not wearing a wetsuit.

An autopsy concluded Rogge drowned. The weather conditions were especially harsh as a cold front moved into the area that evening. The National Weather Service issued a small-craft advisory that day warning of strong, gusting winds.

"That's where he made the mistake. When he left, it was in complete darkness," Capiak said. "The wind was coming from the west across these islands. As soon as he crossed the lee of those islands, that's where he overturned."
 

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how do you drown with a life vest on? Isn't it supposed to keep your head up? Doesn't make sense.
 

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75 years old?

Darkness?

54 degree water temps?

Harsh weather conditions?

Not wearing a wetsuit?

How did anyone this careless live to be 75 years old :confused:
 

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I can't believe the bridge guys let him go back. It gets dark at 4:40 PM. The least they could have done was call a cab for him on Thanksgiving. It is a shame.
 

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Sympathy to the family...We use to have a credo when dirt biking..."don't ride over your head"...sounds like he was in over his head in more ways then one...really a shame
 

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Originally posted by egghead:
[QB] High winds, waves blamed in kayaker's death in O.C.
Sure, blame the high winds & waves.
Like Jack said, How did he make it to 75?
 

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Originally posted by ReadyJettyGo:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by egghead:
[QB] High winds, waves blamed in kayaker's death in O.C.
Sure, blame the high winds & waves.
Like Jack said, How did he make it to 75?
</font>[/QUOTE]He probably made it to 75 by having a brass set & taking chances. My hat goes off to the guy. He died doing something he obviously loved.
 

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Originally posted by edhead:
I can't believe the bridge guys let him go back. It gets dark at 4:40 PM. The least they could have done was call a cab for him on Thanksgiving. It is a shame.
No shirt - I woulda let him call then took him home! Sad, sad, sad :(
 

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HYPOTHERMIA DOES IT ALL THE TIME-VEST OR NOT.I HAVE PULLED ALOT OF BODIES OUT OF THE DELAWARE RIVER THAT VESTS ON BUT THE TEMP IS WHAT KILLED THEM.
 

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Reel, but it was just 2hrs and the report says he drowned? Seems strange. I look at some graphs and it shows that you can live up to 6hrs before Hypothermia? Death takes longer? I'm curious because I fish in a yak in water as low as 55-50 and never felt like it was a taking a big risk if i tipped?
 

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I'm not exactly sure, but I think in 54 degree water, it should take a little less than 2 hours for hypothermia to set in. Even before that though, your limbs become useless because your body shunts blood to its core to maintain heat. He left the welcome center at 5:30, too, so that's 3 and a half hrs. before he was found. Plus, he was out for 4 hours before that. It wasn't warm on Thanksgiving, he may have been becoming hypothermic before he capsized. They said where he capsized, but I bet they're only guessing that, since noone saw it. There also may have been something else going on before he drowned, he may have been unconscious and that may have been the cause of him capsizing. He might even have drowned as soon as he capsized because he panicked while he was trying to get out of the yak. It only takes one deep breath of salt water. The life jacket only holds your head out of the water when it's not pointing down. He might have been very competant to be out there that day, you just don't know what happened.

[ 12-01-2005, 04:43 AM: Message edited by: Clamboni ]
 

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Whatever it was that caused him to drown doesn't really matter at this point. The man exercised poor judgement in being out there. Not discounting anyones opinion or what the charts say about how long a person can survive in frigid waters, but I think the lesson that can be learned from this is to always try to use good judgement. I have turned my boat around plenty of times in sea conditions that I know my boat can handle, but I have either been by myself or had others on the boat that would have been put at a risk, however small, that is completely unneccessary. And for what? A couple of fish. It's simply not worth it! There are plenty of nice days to be had out there. Why chance it for no good reason. Hey, I'm all for doin what you love to do. It's just a shame because now this guy is gone and his family is left grieving. It scares the heck out of me to think of my wife and boys in that position.
 

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And by the way, I am not bashing this guy, I feel very bad for him being lost.
 

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You have to remember the wind chill was probably below 32 easily. I was standing at 12th. str. when they pulled him out. It was real cold unbearable, let alone being wet and older with less resistence to cold due to his age. He was probably in hypo before he flipped. The h2o was colder then 54deg. That reading is at steelpier, the bay was colder than the ocean. There was close to 2-3 foot waves with white caps.
 

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you right about the h20 temp. We fished earlier that day and there was no wind til about 4-5pm then it started howling. The temps on the boat in avalon were 48 degrees in the bay/55 on beach. He more than likely started his trip before that cold front came through then found himself caught in the wind.
 

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My water temp gauge was reading 39degrees Friday afternoon at the dock. Obviously he never should have been out there at that time, much less without a good wetsuit. At that temp even 30 minutes is too long.

75 years old and kayaking on Thanksgiving? He was one tough mother, rest in peace :(
 

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Not saying that he didn't make a mistake being out there when he was, let alone without a wetsuit. Just saying that there's so many things that could have happened and there's no way to tell what it was. I just don't agree with the bashing, that's all.
 

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Originally posted by jc:
Reel, but it was just 2hrs and the report says he drowned? Seems strange. I look at some graphs and it shows that you can live up to 6hrs before Hypothermia? Death takes longer? I'm curious because I fish in a yak in water as low as 55-50 and never felt like it was a taking a big risk if i tipped?
Hey, bro, I think you're takin' a major risk. Water that cold can knock you senseless as soon as you're immersed. The worst ice cream headache times ten. Add to that, the holy shizz!! (panic) factor and your time is reduced to a few minutes. I'd get a wetsuit and a hood and, not alone, practice falling out and getting back in, in cold water, so if it ever happens, it won't be life or death. You'll know what it feels like and be ready for it because you've done it before. Any of you guys carry flare guns?
 

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I read somewhere and I think it was capemay, 2 guys where fishing the rips and their boat capsized in very cold water. They where able to get to land but when they got out of the water the air was so cold they went into shock because of the wind chill was actually colder than the water.

[ 12-01-2005, 09:16 PM: Message edited by: johnny d ]
 
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