IMAGERY AVAILABLE: Coast Guard rescues man in life raft offshore Grays Harbor, WA

united states coast guard 

News Release  

U.S. Coast Guard 13th District Pacific Northwest
Contact: 13th District Public Affairs
Office: (206) 220-7237
After Hours: (206) 220-7237
13th District online newsroom

Coast Guard rescues man in life raft offshore Grays Harbor, WA

Rescue Swimmer and Life RaftLife Raft of the Ruby Lily

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SEATTLE — The Coast Guard rescued a man in an emergency life raft Saturday offshore of Grays Harbor. 

At 11:39 a.m., Friday, watchstanders at the 13th Coast Guard District Command Center received an emergency position indicating radio beacon activation alert for the fishing vessel Ruby Lily approximately 132 miles from Grays Harbor. Watchstanders launched crews from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria, Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento and the Coast Guard Cutter Alert to respond.

A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon in the vicinity of the vessel self diverted to respond to the scene and reported one person aboard the life raft. The man aboard, who was also the owner of the Ruby Lily, reported he was safe in the rigid hull life raft with two weeks of food and water. 

A good Samaritan vessel in the area offered assistance, but the man on the life raft reportedly refused assistance from the good Samaritan. 

At 1:46 p.m., a MH-60 Jayhawk from Air Station Astoria arrived on scene and deployed a rescue swimmer. It was reported that the man refused to depart the life raft to be hoisted into the helicopter and insisted on a surface asset recovery.

At 3:53 p.m., watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Blue Shark and crew for recovery. Prior to departing the scene, the Coast Guard helicopter supplied the man with flares and a Coast Guard position locating beacon. 

An HC-27J Spartan from Air Station Sacramento arrived on scene at approximately 9:31 p.m. to keep visual on the life raft.

Blue Shark reported on scene at approximately 2:36 a.m., with the Alert arriving shortly after. Blue Shark conducted a well-fare check on the man aboard the life raft and reportedly requested to be transferred off the life raft. Once transferred off the life raft, Blue Shark conducted a medical assessment.

The man was reported to be in stable condition. 

The man reported that Ruby Lily had begun taking on water at a fast rate and completely sank. The Alert recovered the survival craft and intends to transfer the life raft to Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Astoria.  

At 8:10 a.m., Blue Shark moored in Westport to transfer the recovered man.

"This case was a success because the mariner had a registered beacon, and it was activated, allowing crews to get on scene quick." said Scott Giard, the Coast Guard 13th District Search and Rescue Program Manager. "In this case, the subject was further offshore, so VHF-FM radio and cell phone coverage is scarce or scant. Reporting distress early gives rescue crews valuable time to get on scene fast, every second counts during any search and rescue case. This mariners EPIRB saved his life. Having a registered beacon can be the difference between locating a person in distress within minutes or days."