BREMERTON, Wash. – Two kayakers who fell into distress near the Tacoma Narrows were rescued by an Air and Marine Operations crew on an acceptance testing mission on Aug. 7.
Marine Interdiction Agents were conducting an eight-hour endurance test for the newest vessel in the fleet, a Coastal Interceptor Vessel in the waters of Puget Sound, south of Bremerton, along with a SAFE boat operator. Approximately halfway through their run, heading out of the Tacoma Narrows passage, the crew spotted two distressed kayakers attempting to flag them down. At that location in Puget Sound, the current is quite strong, running more than 5 knots. The tide had just changed and the current was running at its strongest. The crew maneuvered the vessel toward them to provide assistance.
The father and son were recreational kayakers, enjoying the day, when one of their paddles broke, and they experienced difficulty returning to shore. They were not familiar with the area, and did not have life jackets or the proper clothing to protect them from the 55-degree water. Agents provided a tow line to the kayakers, and slowly towed them toward the island from which they launched. A life jacket was provided for one of the kayakers.
As the boat neared the island, the height of the waves suddenly increased, and began to swamp the kayaks. For their safety, the two kayakers were brought on board the vessel, and taken to a suitable drop point.
“Considering the tide conditions, strong current and water temperature, the kayakers were in real peril. This is a good example of how AMO stands ready to respond to developing urgent and emergency situations, and how well it serves the public,” stated Supervisory Marine Agent Jerimiah Rogers. “Our crew performed a good public service today.”
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