Two people were rescued from Semiahmoo Bay Monday morning after their vessel capsized in the choppy sea.
At approximately 10:50 a.m. May 17, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Crescent Beach received a mayday call to assist two people clinging to their capsized aluminum skiff. Initial reports placed the individuals in the Nicomekl River.
However, the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre, located in Victoria, were able to ping one of the victim’s phones, which indicated they were in Semiahmoo Bay.
Former station leader and active member Scott Paulhus, who responded to the call for help, said the situation could have been much worse if the boaters didn’t have life-jackets or a cellphone.
“If they didn’t have any kind of way to communicate, no radio, sound signalling device, no cellphone. Who knows what would have happened. Probably a whole lot worse,” he said.
“They were extremely appreciative that they were found. They kept thanking us over and over.”
The RCMSAR is using the incident as an reminder to the boating public to be aware of conditions as well as to have appropriate safety gear on board, including life jackets, a bailing device, visual-signalling device such as a flare, mirror or flash light, along with sound-signalling devices, such as a whistle, horn or radio.
Monday, the wind was estimated to be about 37 km/h, which created three-foot choppy waves. The boaters found themselves parallel with the waves, which capsized the vessel.
Paulhus noted that water is usually calm near Crescent Beach Marina and Blackie Spit, but conditions can quickly change.
“As soon as you get around the spit and into the open, especially past Kwomais Point there, winds can pick up and there was a pretty strong tide there,” he said.
Aside from being wet and cold, the two boaters did not sustain any injuries. RCMSAR later retrieved the victims’ vessel and belongings and returned the items to them.