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Saved by an Apple Watch: Woman stranded on paddleboard calls 911

An Apple Watch helped save a woman off Nahant Beach on Monday.
An Apple Watch helped save a woman off Nahant Beach on Monday. (Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

An afternoon of paddleboarding almost turned into a nightmare for a woman who ventured into the waters off Nahant Beach on Monday and discovered that she couldn’t get back to shore.

“The wind blew her way off the beach,” said Swampscott Police Sergeant Bill Waters.

Luckily, the woman was wearing an Apple Watch and she was able to call 911 while she was stranded in the water, he said.

Waters said the 911 call went to Lynn fire dispatch, and her GPS-enabled watch provided the exact coordinates of her location.

The Lynn Fire Department provided audio of the 911 call, which showed the drama that was unfolding.

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“I’m on a paddleboard right off of Nahant Beach, and I’m getting blown out to sea,” the caller told a Lynn fire dispatcher.

The woman told the dispatcher she was embarrassed she had to call for help, but the wind was too much for her to paddle against, and she was drifting farther away from shore.

“Ma’am, don’t worry about being embarrassed,” the dispatcher said. “You know what? It’s better you call now. Believe me.”

“I’m glad I have an Apple Watch, thank God,” she said.

“How far off the beach are you?” the dispatcher asked.

“Now, I’m just getting blown further and further,” she said as the noise of the whipping wind grew louder.

The dispatcher asked her about her location and condition. He reassured her that help was being sent.

“Oh my God, it’s just getting windier,” she said.

“OK, just stay on the line with me. We’re on the way,” he said.

Police and firefighters in neighboring Swampscott responded at approximately 1:11 p.m. to the paddleboarder’s call, as wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour were pushing her away from the beach and farther out to sea, officials said.

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The Swampscott Police Harbormaster Unit — which includes Waters, Sergeant Jay Locke, and Officer Michael Bowden— went to the Swampscott pier and deployed the harbormaster boat and located the woman several hundred yards away from the shore.

They picked up the paddleboarder and took her back to Swampscott Harbor. She didn’t suffer any injuries during the ordeal, according to police.

“She was fine,” said Waters. “A little shaken up, but fine.”


Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.