(Editor’s Note: This Coast Guard report is from Washington, but a good reminder to all mariners about boating safety.)
SEATTLE — The Coast Guard responded to three separate reports of disabled and adrift vessels in Washington, Friday afternoon, rescuing a total of eight adults and three children.
One incident resulted in issuing a safety violation after the vessel was found to be missing two adult life jackets but all 11 boaters were reported uninjured and were safely transferred back to shore.
At 1:32 p.m., Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received a report of a vessel setting off an orange smoke flare near Mukilteo. A crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Blue Shark arrived on scene in a rescue boat, towed the disabled vessel and discovered the violation while conducting a boarding.
“While we commend the vessel operator for utilizing their signal flare and helping us to locate them quickly, it’s important to have all of the required safety gear aboard your vessel before you go out on the water,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Madden, a watchstander stationed at the Sector Puget Sound Command Center. “The number one cause of boating fatalities is drowning, most often by sudden and unexpected entry into the water. Wearing a life jacket increases the chances of surviving a boating accident.”
Just one hour before the Blue Shark crew responded to the disabled vessel, a Station Seattle crew towed two more disabled vessels, a 30-foot boat near Elliot Bay and an 18-foot pleasure craft near Maury Island.
According to the National Weather Service, a record heat wave is expected this weekend with temperatures into the mid-90s on Sunday.
With the hot weather, people will likely seek rivers and lakes for swimming and other water activities. Many bodies of water are experiencing run off from melted snowpack in the mountains and are still cold enough to put swimmers in danger of hypothermia and drowning.
Regardless of which water activity you choose, remember to be prepared before you go out on the water and to have the proper safety equipment aboard your vessel at all times. While not all safety equipment is required by law, the Coast Guard urges boaters to carry survival gear in the event of an emergency:
A well-fitted and Coast Guard approved life jacket
Two forms of water-proof communication (VHF Radio, cell phone in water-proof bag)
A fire extinguisher
A first aid kit
Sound signals (fog horn or whistle)
Visual distress signals such as flares or mirrors