Coast Guard rescues man from grounded sail boat near Bellingham, Wash

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard rescued a man from his grounded 38-foot sailing vessel Fjaera in Bellingham Bay Monday night.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles located the man in a survival suit clinging to the side of his vessel, hoisted him aboard and safely delivered him to awaiting emergency medical services at the Bellingham Airport. He reportedly had no medical concerns and was released.

Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound watchstanders received two reports from family members that the man was in possible distress prompting the launch of the Dolphin crew and a Coast Guard Station Bellingham 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew to search the bay.

The Dolphin crew located the vessel, grounded in shallow water on the mud flats, listing slightly with torn sails. The crew deployed their Coast Guard rescue swimmer who located and contacted the man. The crew then hoisted them both aboard the Dolphin.

“The aircrew did an excellent job on this case locating the boater at night in poor weather without a good reported position,” said Mike Allen, a search and rescue controller, Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound. “We recommend all boaters check the weather, carry a VHF-FM marine radio and file a float plan with friends or family to assist rescuers in the event of an emergency. We are very lucky this boater was able to contact family and communicate his situation before his cell phone battery died.”

Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound’s incident management department are working with the owner to arrange salvage of the vessel. There are reportedly 10 gallons of fuel aboard the sail boat.

Weather at the time of the incident was reportedly 29 mph winds with 6-foot seas, an air temperature of 52 degrees and a water temperature of 56 degrees.

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