Coast Guard rescues man, woman, 2 dogs near Port Angeles, Wash.

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SEATTLE — Port Angeles, Washington-based Coast Guardsmen rescued two people and two dogs from a vessel taking on water near Port Angeles, Friday morning.

A man and woman wearing lifejackets were aboard a 19-foot vessel with their dogs when they began taking on water.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Wahoo, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Port Angeles was already underway in the area and a boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Port Angeles launched aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium.

A boatcrew from the Wahoo safely removed the woman and both dogs from the vessel. A crewmember from the Wahoo stayed aboard the vessel with the man and the RBM provided a dewatering pump. Using the pump, the man and Wahoo crewmember were able to safely return to the public boat ramp on Ediz Hook.

“Without the Coast Guard there they would have sank and been in the water with two dogs, so having their life jackets on was an important safety measure,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeremy Higgins, coxswain of the RBM. “Having the Wahoo’s crew there and getting the passenger and dogs off allowed us to pass them a pump so they could safely dewater the vessel and make it back to shore.”

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, in Seattle, were notified at 8:42 a.m. by 911 dispatchers after the woman aboard the vessel called 911 on a cell phone to report the vessel taking on water.

Life jackets save lives. Drowning is the leading cause of death in boating-related mishaps. Most boating fatalities are the result of unexpected falls overboard, either while a vessel is underway or drifting. Of those who drown, 90 percent were not wearing a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket helps ensure a boater stays afloat so they can either self-rescue or be rescued by other boaters in the area.

All mariners are also encouraged to invest in a VHF-FM marine-band radio as their primary means of communication on the water. VHF-FM marine-band radios are far more reliable than cells phones in the marine environment. Channel 16 is the international hailing and distress frequency.

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