By: Red Rider Magazine staff
It’s natural to fall into a familiar and pleasant mindset: Look at a Honda AquaTrax, and most of us envision warm days and happy times at the river, lake or beach. We typically see a personal watercraft as a water-bound magic carpet of sorts, whisking us away to fun vacations or at least mini-breaks from the workaday routine, fun times, full of smiles.
While all that is true, Honda PWCs have also played a more serious role, serving as rescue vehicles uniquely suited to complex missions—especially life-saving duty—that could otherwise end in disaster. Case in point: an ocean rescue that happened in the bucolic seaside town of Santa Cruz in northern California.
Located on the northern side of Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz has long enjoyed an intimate and harmonious relationship with the Pacific Ocean. Since 1865, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has long offered a piquant blend of sun, sand, surf, rides and other attractions, and it is now the sole remaining seaside amusement park on the West Coast.
Not far from the Boardwalk lies a promontory called Lighthouse Point, a well-known ocean overlook with cliffs fronting the Pacific. It was here that a couple in their mid-twenties were walking along the cliffs when they decided to climb beyond a fence and its accompanying warning signs in order to get closer to the cliffside edge. Suddenly the woman slipped and fell into the ocean near the entrance to a 60-foot-deep cave that extends under the point. The woman’s boyfriend jumped in to assist her, but the pair quickly found themselves in difficult straights as the three- to five-foot surf forced them into the back of the cave.
Fortunately for the two, witnesses in the area called for emergency service, and members of the Santa Cruz City Beach Lifeguard Service sprang into action. For several years, this agency has been equipped with rescue AquaTrax PWCs as part of a Honda program designed to assist non-profit agencies. So, equipped with their Honda AquaTrax PWCs, the lifeguards rode to the rescue.
Despite the narrow confines, surging surf and tricky conditions, the AquaTrax turned out to be the perfect tool for an especially difficult job. Thanks to the AquaTrax, the Santa Cruz lifeguards soon transferred the pair to a harbor patrol craft that took them to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, where they declined further medical treatment.
Senior Deputy Harbormaster Don Kinnamon said, “They were very thankful, very shocked, very wet and very cold. They were also lucky they didn’t drown. We’re always warning people to stay a safe distance from the cliffs.”
For those of us who enjoy recreational times aboard our PWCs, this cautionary tale may seem far removed from our sunny and happy excursions. However, despite the high drama the end of this story has a familiar ring: Once again, at the end of the day, the Honda AquaTrax brings smiles to faces.
Originally pushished by Honda Red Rider Magazine.