Missing boat with six people on board found

SEATTLE – A Good Samaritan contacted the Coast Guard stating he spotted the missing 20-foot bayliner tied to a fuel pier in West Sound, on Orcas Island, Wash., Wednesday.

The Coast Guard contacted the only local cab company on the island and found that the people stayed at a local hotel there.

Coast Guard members were able to speak with one of the six members at the hotel and found them to all be safe.

Coast Guard Group Port Angeles, Wash., received a report at 11 p.m., that a 20-foot bayliner with a blue hull and cuddy cabin was overdue to return home after it departed Bellingham, Wash., at 11 a.m., Tuesday.

The bayliner had six people on board including two young children.

The bayliner was going to an unknown destination in the San Juan Islands, Wash.

The Coast Guard diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin, homeported in Bellingham, and sent a 33-foot small response boat crew from Bellingham, two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews and the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island, Wash., launched an MH-60 helicopter crew to search the area the bayliner was headed for.

The Coast Guard reminds boaters to exercise safe practices before heading out to sea.

1. Float Plan: A float plan is a written statement of the details of an intended voyage usually filed with a friend, neighbor and/or marina operator or; a document that specifically describes the vessel, equipment, crew, and itinerary of a planned voyage. Leave a copy with a friend, relative or local marina before heading out on the water. If a vessel has an emergency or is overdue, pertinent information will be available to provide local marine police or the Coast Guard. If delayed, boaters should inform those with the float plan, and be sure to notify them upon returning so the float plan can be “closed out” and an unnecessary and costly search avoided. An example of a float plan can be found at http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/fedreqs/floatplan.pdf

2. Wear Personal Floatation Devices: Life jackets – bring one for each person. History has shown that the chance of survival greatly increases if an individual is wearing a personal floatation device. For more information on life jacket requirements visit:http://www.uscgboating.org/command/initiative/jacket.htm

3. Have a Marine Radio: Investing in a good VHF radio is a smart purchase. Cell phones should not be used as a primary means of emergency communication on the water where reception may be poor or unavailable. A VHF radio has a strong signal and distress calls are received by everyone monitoring a VHF radio in range, whereas cell phone communications are point-to-point. Use VHF Channel 16 for emergencies.

4. Get Your Boat Checked Before Heading Out: The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadron offers a free Vessel Safety Check. Common problems found are lack of personal floatation devices, lack of visual distress signals or inoperable navigational lights. For a complete list of what boaters should check prior to heading out, or to schedule a free vessel safety check, visit:http://www.vesselsafetycheck.org/

5. Boating Safety Classes: A variety of boating safety classes are available throughout the Pacific Northwest. These classes are provided through the Coast Guard Auxiliary in many locations. Visit the link below for a listing and description of available classes. http://a130.uscgaux.info/dso-pe/index.htm

6. Check Local Weather Forecasts: Be aware that storms can come up quickly and several are forecast this week. Always check local weather conditions and forecasts before heading out. If you must go out, monitor current forecasts, warnings and conditions via National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio. There are 14 NOAA Weather Radio stations broadcasting along the Oregon and Washington coasts.

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