Coast Guard medevacs boater near Guemes Island, Wash.

65 Traverse CitySEATTLE — A Coast Guard aircrew rescued a man who was reportedly suffering from symptoms of Parkinson’s disease on a 24-foot fishing vessel in Guemes Channel Saturday.

The aircrew of an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles airlifted the man to emergency medical services responders at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, who transferred him to Whidbey General Hospital by ambulance.

The distressed boater, who was alone on his boat, hailed watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound by VHF radio around noon. The helicopter crew was conducting training nearby and diverted to assist the man. They arrived on scene at 12:13 p.m.

“The man used several channels to communicate with the Coast Guard and other emergency services, including his cell phone and a VHF radio,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Shawna Leatherby, a watchstander at Sector Puget Sound. “Being able to call for help quickly during an emergency at sea can be the difference between life and death.”

A Coast Guard Station Bellingham crew on a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium towed the vessel out of the channel and moored it at Anchor Cove Marina in Anacortes.

Boaters are encouraged to keep a variety of communications devices on board and to download the free Coast Guard Boating Safety App, which includes a list of boating safety equipment and features an emergency assistance button to call for help. For more information about the app, visit

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