Coast Guard gets civilian assist with flare sighting

SEATTLE – The Citizen’s Action Network (CAN) assisted with the Coast Guard’s response to a disabled vessel in Budd Inlet near Olympia, Wash., Sunday.

Coast Guard Sector Seattle’s command center was notified of a boat in the middle of Budd Inlet that sent 1-2 distress flares at approximately 9:30 p.m. An Olympia Harbor Patrol boat crew was sent to respond, but inclement weather delayed their response. The Coast Guard called a CAN member who resides in Olympia to investigate the issue, but she reported seeing nothing. However, she was able to contact a friend near the marina who spoke with a Good Samaritan that towed the troubled boat whose sails had been entangled due to wind.

“CAN helped us a lot that night,” said Dennis Killian, a Coast Guard command center watch stander. “The service they provide means the Coast Guard can do its job while saving money for taxpayers.”

The Citizen’s Action Network is an organization of volunteers who reside near navigable waterways and assist the Coast Guard by providing eyes on the water during Coast Guard operations. Their help in this case saved the Coast Guard and Thurston County an estimated $50,000 in operational costs.

“CAN’s involvement in this case saved the Coast Guard from launching, at least, two sorties which would most likely have spent seven-to-eight hours searching with negative results (due to the aid of the Good Samaritan,)” said Lt. Cmdr. Lance Lindgren, CAN Program Manager.

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