Coast Guard saves 3 from capsized boat near Guemes Island, WA

Medical personnel from Anacortes Fire Department evaluate survivors of a capsized vessel which occurred near Guemes Island, Washington, late Thursday evening. The crew of three were recovered by a Station Bellingham boatcrew after a Good Samaritan reported hearing calls for help coming from the water off North Beach. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station Bellingham)

Medical personnel from Anacortes Fire Department evaluate survivors of a capsized vessel which occurred near Guemes Island, Washington, late Thursday evening.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station Bellingham)

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — The Coast Guard rescued three people from the water early Friday morning after their 12-foot boat capsized about a half of a mile northwest of Guemes Island.

Officials from Skagit County dispatch contacted Coast Guard watchstanders at 10:22 p.m. Thursday to relay that a good Samaritan called from his residence on Guemes Island’s water edge and reported hearing multiple voices shouting. He said he saw no boats or lights in the water, but could hear both male and female voices shouting “where are you?” and “don’t give up, I’m right here.” He guessed the shouts were distress calls hailing from the water in the direction of Vendovi Island.

A Coast Guard Station Bellingham 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew and a Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew launched to search for people in the water.

The RBM crew located and rescued three people at about 2 a.m. Friday, two males and one female, from the water off North Beach and confirmed they were pulling crab pots when their boat capsized. The people were not wearing life jackets. The Coast Guard rescue crew took the three survivors to Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes where emergency medical services personnel were waiting to conduct medical evaluations.

“I am extremely proud of my crew and their efforts during last night’s rescue,” said Chief Warrant Officer Justin Uyttewaal, commanding officer at Coast Guard Station Bellingham. “Day or night, they are ready to respond to calls for help and to serve our coastal communities. Fortunately for the survivors, they had the assistance of a good Samaritan, who was key to a quick and successful recovery.”

The most recent studies indicate 86% of drowning victims in 2019 were not wearing life jackets, and most drowning victims are reportedly good swimmers. The Coast Guard encourages mariners to always wear life jackets at all times while on the water.


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