Coast Guard Rescues 14 From Sinking Boats in Washington, Michigan

June 22, 2020

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 people from sinking boats last week — 10 from northern Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay and four from off the coast of Washington state.

In Michigan, the Coast Guard said it dispatched a rescue boat and a helicopter to the scene Friday afternoon after its command center in Sault Ste. Marie received a distress call from a 30-foot vessel that was taking on water in the bay along Lake Michigan, north of Traverse City.

A crew arrived about 20 minutes later and began transferring passengers from the distressed boat to a “Good Samaritan” vessel. As the crew was transferring the 10 passengers, the distressed boat began to sink rapidly, forcing everyone into the water.

A Coast Guard rescue swimmer rescued the 10 people with the help of the Good Samaritan, who transported them to shore after their vessel sank in about 250 feet (76 meters) of water.

The Coast Guard said the sunken boat had a gasoline capacity of 75 gallons (283 liters), but there were no signs of pollution on the bay following its sinking.

Coast Guard officials said boaters embarking for their first excursions as the boating season begins should check their boat to make sure they have proper safety gear, including life jackets, and an operable VHF radio.

“In this case, the mariner was able to use a VHF radio to communicate to us that they needed help, which allowed the Coast Guard and other boaters to get on scene quickly,” Commander Amy Florentino, deputy sector commander, said in a statement.

In Washington, the Coast Guard rescued four people without injuries from rocks and crashing waves after their ship capsized. A rescue helicopter hoisted the passengers on Tuesday two at a time from Cape Flattery on the northwest tip of the Olympic Peninsula, about 160 miles from Seattle, The Bellingham Herald reported.

Coast Guard watchstanders in Puget Sound received a distress call around 10 p.m. from the captain of a 28-foot-long (9-meter-long) vessel that was disabled and drifting near rocks, authorities said. Steep cliffs made a land rescue impractical.

All four people aboard the ship were wearing life jackets and climbed onto a ledge shortly before the ship started to sink, the Coast Guard reported.

Coast Guard Station Neah Bay’s 47-foot motor lifeboat and its crew first attempted rescue but couldn’t get close enough because of 6-foot seas and 20 mph winds.

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