Coast Guard rescues four in heavy weather, urges mariners to avoid unsafe seas

65 Hoist trainingSEATTLE — Coast Guard crews rescued four boaters in distress in three search-and-rescue missions resulting from heavy weather along the Pacific Northwest coast in the past two days.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Bend, Oregon, responded to a request for assistance from a 67-year-old man on a 38-foot sailing vessel off the Oregon coast in reported 22-foot seas with wind gusts of up to 57 mph Monday.

Crews of an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Facility Newport, Oregon, a 52-foot Motor Lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay, and the Coast Guard Cutter Fir, a 225-foot Seagoing-Buoy Tender homeported in Astoria, Oregon, launched to assist the sailor through heavy weather.

The aircrew located the man 17 miles off the coast of Cape Perpetua, Oregon. When the helicopter crew arrived on scene, the man jumped overboard and was hoisted to safety by a rescue swimmer at approximately 10:50 a.m. The other crews stood down while the aircrew transported the man back to the air facility, where he was evaluated by emergency medical services and reported to be in good condition.

The sailing vessel remains adrift, unmanned and unlit, so the Coast Guard cautions mariners who might be transiting the area to proceed carefully.

“The weather throughout the Pacific Northwest is dangerous for boaters whether they are inland or out at sea,” said Capt. Robert Pearce, chief of response for the Coast Guard 13th District. “With 10-to-30 foot seas and high winds, the Coast Guard urges mariners to take precautions or to stay off the water altogether.”

Earlier, another MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew, from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, Washington, assisted the Canadian coast guard with the search and rescue of two people and a dog on board a disabled 32-foot sailing vessel near the San Juan Islands around midnight Sunday.

The aircrew was first on scene and remained nearby while two Canadian coast guard boat crews towed the vessel through reported winds of up to 52 mph and 15-foot swells. Crews safely moored the sailing vessel at Friday Harbor, Washington, at 12:31 a.m.

Lastly, along the Columbia River in Oregon, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria rescued two stranded duck hunters Sunday night after one of them called 911 and reported they were beset by the tide and lost near Marsh Island.

The hunters were on a 14-foot skiff, in weather reported to be rainy with less than 4 miles of visibility and 35 mph winds, when they became disoriented and could not find their way back to Aldrich Point boat launch near Brownsmead, Oregon.

The helicopter crew hoisted the stranded hunters from a small island in Prairie Channel and transported them to the air station with no reported injuries.

Severe weather conditions are forecasted for this week, and the Coast Guard stresses the importance of mariners being aware of the weather conditions and the limitations of their vessels. River entrance closures and restrictions have been implemented throughout region to protect recreational and un-inspected passenger vessels from unsafe conditions. Updated bar observations can be found online through the National Weather Service.

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