Man Drowns on Christmas Day - 01/30/2008
There is no better way to commune with nature than boating solo, but be sure to wear a kill switch lanyard and a PFD

If you know someone who enjoys boating alone, send them this article. Using a kill switch lanyard and automatic inflatable PFD are “musts” for nature-loving solo boaters.

The family told rescue officials that they had received a phone call from Cahoon at 10 AM that morning and everything was fine then, but when Cahoon failed to arrive at a family gathering for Christmas Day they called authorities.

C.P. White, Wildlife Enforcement Officer for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), said Dare Central Communications was contacted by the family at 1:30 PM they dispatched the Manns Harbor Volunteer Fire Department, NCWRC, Dare County rescue, and the US Coast Guard.

Ensign Scott McGrew of the Coast Guard Oregon Inlet Station said the Coast Guard received the call from dispatch at 1:45 PM and two rescue boats were launched, one from Oregon Inlet and one from the Elizabeth City Coast Guard Station.

McGrew said that by 3:00 PM, Cahoon's body was found by a Dare County helicopter and the helicopter crew immediately directed Manns Harbor Fire Department to the scene to recover the body.

Fire Chief Clyde Gard said the incident was reported as a boating accident and that it is unknown what caused Cahoon to fall out of his 18-foot outboard fishing boat and drown. His boat, with the motor running, was found nearby.


  • Always wear Coast Guard approved life vest. The water-activated inflatable types are comfortable and reliable.

  • Always clip on a safety lanyard to the kill switch. Make sure the lanyard is long enough. If you don’t like the coiled up type that are commercially available, make your own to suit your individual situation.

  • Be aware of weather and water conditions.

  • Carry a waterproof VHF radio on your person. The new models are low-priced and very reliable.

  • File a float plan to let others know where you are going, and make sure they know what to do and who to call in case of an emergency.

  • Maintain constant awareness of other vessels in the immediate area – chances are they are paying no attention to you.

  • While a cell phone is good to have with you, remember that you must keep it dry and there may be no cell coverage where you boat.

  • Don’t drink alcohol when boating solo, you’re just asking for trouble.