Coast Guard saves 1 in rowboat in Bellingham Bay, Wash

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 by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan W. Bradshaw

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard rescued a man adrift on his dingy in Bellingham Bay Thursday after he was beset by weather.

The 26-year-old Ferndale man was rowing his 7-foot wooden-watercraft across the bay to an anchored sailboat, which he claimed to be working on, when he lost his oars and had no other means of propulsion. The man had no life jacket, possessed no means of communication, and was not wearing adequate clothing for the conditions.

At 9:03 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received a call from a good Samaritan on the shore who reported spotting a man on a dingy waving his arms and calling for help.

A Coast Guard Station Bellingham 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew launched at 9:12 a.m., arrived on scene in about 20 minutes, and took the man aboard.

He reportedly suffered from the early stages of hypothermia and was immediately taken to emergency medical service technicians from Bellingham Fire Department waiting at Station Bellingham.

The boat crew returned to the scene shortly after in an attempt to recover the dingy, but it could not be located.

“He is incredibly lucky that we reached him in time,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Alexander Franzese, a 45-foot RB-M crew member of Station Bellingham. “He was drifting toward rougher waters, and it would have totally swamped his boat. Considering how cold the water was and his lack of safety equipment, he narrowly avoided tragedy today.”

Franzese recommends that boaters pay attention to weather warnings, keep a waterproof marine radio with them, use oar-locks in row-boats, and above all, never go out on the water without wearing a life-jacket.

There was a small-craft advisory in effect at the time of the incident. The Coast Guard recommends all mariners heed these critical warnings from the national weather service and take into account the affects that winds and waves will have on their boat prior to getting underway and throughout their voyage.


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