Kayak Guide Rescues Snorkeler

The man became unconscious in the water inside a cave when a trained kayak guide took action

If you heard someone yelling for help from inside an ocean cave would you know what do to?

Marie Webb did.

The 21-year old tour guide was out on the water giving her usual daily tour near the “Clam Cave” along La Jolla Shores when she heard someone yelling for help.

A couple visiting from Michigan was snorkeling in the cave when a large wave crashed over them. The man resurfaced face up but was unconscious in the water, according to lifeguards.

Webb pulled the man up onto her kayak while she waited for lifeguards. When they arrived, they carried the man to the beach on a jet ski where they gave him oxygen and first aid before paramedics could transport him to the hospital.

“I was pretty much in the right place at the right time,” Webb said. “He probably would’ve been waiting out there for like 10 or 15 minutes if I hadn’t been there.”

Another factor that saved the man’s life according to lifeguards is that his wife is a former dive master who has experience in the water in rescue situations.

But for Webb, this experience was unlike any other. By far, she says, a normal day at the office.

“It feels pretty crazy right now. I really never thought I would be interviewed for being a hero in the water. I was just doing my job,” she said.

Webb works for San Diego Bike and Kayak Tours and her boss, Marcella Di Michieli, took the opportunity to remind the public that the guided tours – which have been restricted recently by the city council – are the safest way for tourists to enjoy the waters along La Jolla Shores.

Tour guides with the company go through 4 to 6 weeks of first aid and emergency training before they are permitted to take tours out into the water. The training includes everything from water safety to how to respond in the event of an emergency.

Webb rolled up on the scene right at the time when the swimmer had been unconscious, according to Di Michieli.

“If Marie hadn’t been out there, she’s a trained guide. She’s knows what to do,” said Di Michieli. “That guy may not have made it, who knows.”

If you're considering kayaking or snorkeling in the waters off La Jolla, lifeguards suggests you check in with the lifeguards before you enter the water. 

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