The owner of a White Rock whale tour company rescued a man who was found clinging to his overturned sailboat in Boundary Bay Friday evening.
White Rock Sea Tours’ Andrew Newman told Peace Arch News Tuesday that he heard a mayday call from the coastguard at approximately 6:30 p.m.
The call asked any nearby vessels to assist a 14-foot sail boat that had overturned about one mile into Boundary Bay, near Crescent Beach.
Newman, who was just finishing up for the day when the call came in, said it took him about 10 minutes to reach the vessel. On arrival, Newman said the sailboat was upside down, its lone passenger in the water.
“We were trying to get him to swim to us. We maneuvered the boat as close as we could safely, but we didn’t want to get too close in the rough water,” Newman said, adding they were working in about three-foot swells.
“We eventually had to re-position the boat upwind of him because he started to swim to us and then started having difficultly ingesting water.”
Newman said his team did a “two-man lift” to get the sailor onto the boat where they treated him for hypothermia. They alerted the coast guard and headed to Crescent Beach.
“The Crescent Beach lifeguard had set up a triage point at the Crescent Beach swim tank, at the foot of Sullivan Street. So we were able to go straight there and beach the boat, and transport, or transfer, him to the lifeguard to add oxygen,” Newman said.
Newman and his crew “didn’t waste any time” getting the soaking wet sailor back to shore.
“Luckily, he had a lifejacket on, that’s the only thing that probably saved his life. He was super, super cold. He was already having difficulty swimming, and he was definitely suffering the effects of hypothermia.”