Coast Guard rescues Washington kayaker

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard rescued a kayaker from Chuckanut Bay, in the southeast end of Bellingham Bay, Wash., today.

The kayaker, Shelia Weinsheimer abandoned ship when her kayak took on too much water. She was then unable to get back in and decided to hang on to her friend’s kayak while waiting for help.

The friend, Shannon Dickerson used her cell phone to call 911 and then contacted Coast Guard Station Bellingham.

Station Bellingham diverted a nearby 33-foot response boat crew, which arrived on scene within 12 minutes.

“The female in the kayak waved us over with her paddle,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Joe Whallon. “As we approached we saw her friend holding onto the side of the kayak.”

The women were both wearing lifejackets, but were not wearing any dry suits.

“When we pulled the woman out of the water and wrapped her in a blanket we could see that she was boarder line hypothermic,” added Whallon. “She was in the 42-degree water for 15 minutes, but recovered after being on board with the heat on.”

After recovering Weinsheimer and retrieving her gear the boat crew brought Dickerson aboard and transported them safely to the Fairhaven boat ramp.

Whallon said that emergency medical services had been notified but ended up not being needed.

No injuries were reported.

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