To the editor:
(A version of this letter was sent to the members of Bristol Town Council and the Town Administrator.)
On Friday, Aug. 10, my friend and I set out from North Farm beach in a two-man kayak. We were enjoying the calm waters when suddenly a high powered boat coming up from the south traveling towards the mouth of the Warren River, at a dangerous speed, passed within 25 feet of our kayak.
The operator of the boat intentionally came within close proximity of us with intent to cause a wake, which caused us to capsize. Once we were flipped we could see and hear both individuals in the boat laughing and mocking us as we attempted to right ourselves. During this time we found ourselves in the middle of the river, the stress of the situation and fighting to right ourselves caused me to go into cardiac arrest.
Thankfully, a young couple in another kayak towed us to the closest point ashore, a sandbar just off Rumstick Point. Without the help of the Barrington Harbor Master and his assistant Bob Hughes, Barrington and Warren rescue units, I would not have survived.
I offered a $1,000 reward which was also matched by two individuals, for the identity of the operator of the boat that caused this incident.
On Aug. 20, 21 & 22 I called the Bristol harbormaster’s office, and left voice mail messages about the incident to see if they had any info on what happened. I received no return calls. On Aug. 23 I got the cell phone number of the harbormaster. I asked for his help in locating the individuals responsible. His response was “This is the first I’m hearing about this.” I told him, he must be joking. His response was that the assistant harbormaster is responsible for the west shore line of Bristol, from Poppasquash North to the Bristol Warren town line.
I became frustrated with his lack of care or concern for what had happened to me, and let him know this. His final remark to me was “Do what you have to do!” and then he hung up on me. Initially I was only concerned about getting my justice from the people responsible for this incident.
However there is a much “bigger” issue. The first responders were the Barrington harbormaster the Warren and Barrington rescue and the Coast Guard. I have been contacted by the DEM, the Barrington harbormaster, all parties were monitoring 911 water related emergencies at the time, but because one individual was out sick, not only did Bristol not respond but no investigation had been started for a life-threatening incident that occurred in their own waters.
So this incident is not just about what happened to me, but anyone who enjoys our beautiful shoreline should know that they are safe from reckless boat use.
My questions are, “How did this happen and what is going on in the harbormaster’s office?,” “How do we correct this situation?,” and “How do I know as a Bristol resident that my life will be safe when enjoying the Bristol waters?”
No one’s life should ever be at risk because the harbormaster’s assistant is out sick.
47 Kickemuit Ave.