Coast Guard and Washington State Ferries crews rescue boaters and dogs

According to the United States Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, the Washington state ferry Samish crew helped the Coast Guard rescue six people and two dogs from their sinking boat on Saturday in high winds and waves.

According to an account of the rescue on the USCG’s social media, the 37-foot cabin cruiser called for help on Saturday afternoon when it encountered rough seas in Rosario Strait.

Waves had broken the boat’s windshield and started taking on water. The people on board were able to transmit their location before their radio shorted out.

“It was pretty nasty out there,” Coast Guard Petty Officer First-Class Travis Magee said. “The vessel had a VHF radio on board, which they were able to contact the Coast Guard with. Shortly after notifying the Coast Guard of their GPS position, communications were lost. But thankfully, they were able to get a hold of us.”

Today we received a call for assistance for 6 people and 2 dogs (Buster and Belle) caught in some nasty weather in...

Posted by U.S. Coast Guard Station Bellingham on Saturday, March 9, 2024

Multiple Coast Guard Vessels and a helicopter from Port Angeles were dispatched to the area.

The Washington State Ferry Samish responded as well, launching a rescue boat that took four people off the vessel in distress.

The Samish also maneuvered the ferry to protect the boat and the rescue effort from the wind and waves.

In fact, both the Coast Guard and Washington State Ferries tell KIRO 7 the Samish was close enough to the incident that it arrived before the Coast Guard did.

“The Coast Guard contacted (the Samish and) asked them to respond,” Ian Sterling, the communications director for Washington State Ferries, said. “All of the ferries have rescue boats on board and we train weekly on those. These aren’t just people that are helping you park your car onboard the ferry. They all have rescue boat training. They’re all trained firefighters.”

A Coast Guard Response Boat arrived, taking the remaining two people and two dogs off the boat.

Crew members from one of the responding vessels were able to board the boat in distress and drive it to a safe location in the harbor in Anacortes, with the WSF Ferry Samish continuing to provide shelter from the winds and waves.

Lt Ryan Sexton with the USCG says the boat is no longer taking on water and poses no threat of pollution.

The passengers of the damaged boat were taken to awaiting aid crews in Anacortes, where they were evaluated for injuries.

“Essentially, all of the Pacific Northwest can have very dynamic and challenging conditions…so having an understanding of what weather conditions are going to look like are very important in keeping mariners safe,” Magee said.