Coast Guard rescues kite surfers near Bellingham, WA

Coast Guard Station Bellingham 45-foot Response Boat-Medium file photo photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan W. Bradshaw

Coast Guard Station Bellingham 45-foot Response Boat-Medium file photo photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan W. Bradshaw

SEATTLE — A Coast Guard Station Bellingham boatcrew rescued two kite surfers in distress Sunday near Bellingham.

Both men were recovered without injury and safely transported to the public peer near Taylor Dock.

At 9:51 a.m. watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received a destress call from a good Samaritan on channel 16 who reported two kite surfers struggling in Bellingham Bay.

A Coast Guard Station Bellingham 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew launched at 10:08 a.m. and arrived on scene in less than 10 minutes.

“Their sails were bright green and made them particularly easy to spot,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class William (Tony) Diepenbrock, RB-M coxswain. “And they were wearing wetsuits, which is good protection against the cold, but they didn’t have on life jackets, which is really dangerous. Imagine if he had been knocked unconscious.”

The kite surfers were struggling against 2 to 3-foot seas and 23 mph sustained winds with gusts reaching upwards of 34 mph.

“They seemed fit and capable,” said Diepenbrock. “But I don’t think they were expecting the winds to get that high. The conditions were just too extreme for them, which is why we encourage every person on the water to always wear a life jacket.”

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