Matthew Windsor says his Standard Horizon HX890E DSC (Digital Selective Calling) VHF radio helped save his life when he was too cold and disorientated to send a mayday call after capsizing his sea kayak off the North Devon coast. Instead, the ‘press and hold’ distress button on the back of the waterproof and portable transceiver sent out a fully automated distress alert with an accurate position via its built-in GPS. Even though Matt had no idea where he was and was losing his struggle against the cold and rough seas, the DSC data burst was picked up by the coastguards and triggered an immediate rescue bid. Safely brought ashore by the RNLI, Matt is now urging all ‘staycationing’ watersports enthusiasts who venture out to sea on boats of all sizes to carry a compact and buoyant VHF transceiver with DSC functionality.
“I am a novice kayaker and knew I needed the best kit so I chose a Standard Horizon HX890E as it featured DSC,” he said. “I had this radio with me when I was capsized while kayaking near Ilfracombe in June. Due to many factors including cold-water shock, exhaustion and rough seas, I was unable to re-enter my kayak. I then made attempts to swim for the shoreline but when I realized I was making no progress, I panicked. I starting to swallow water and was beginning to lose the fight. Essentially, I was dying. I was in an area with no VHF ‘line of sight’ or reception so hit the DSC distress button. Within just 6 minutes a Coastguard helicopter and 2 RNLI lifeboats arrived. One of the lifeboats took me aboard and although I was hyperthermic, exhausted and emotional, I was alive. The DSC technology had made calling for help in my confused state very easy and gives people the confidence they will soon be saved. My only regret is that I didn’t press the big red button sooner.”