The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Station 64 Prince Rupert, was quick to the rescue on Friday, June 5 when they responded to a call from a sinking vessel at the top of Tugwell Island.
“This was just standard operation. We do this for 15 to 40 boats a year,” Marko Kessler, station leader and coxswain on call, said.
Kessler received a call while the Prince Rupert crew was at the dock working on boat maintenance shortly after returning from Ketchikan, Alaska with Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain, who was there for the Fourth of July festivities.
Kessler said the crewman on the boat informed them that there was water coming into the vessel and asked Station 64 to remain on standby. Quickly thereafter, they received a more panicked call and immediately departed knowing the water level would get worse
“By the time we got there, the single occupant was up to his knees in water,” Station 64 stated. “Water was not even an inch from the top leaving no freeboard left to spare. Waves were pushing the vessel sideways and starting to crash over.”
Normal procedure is to board the vessel and assist in the pumping however, the crew decided against that strategy. They feared that the weight of their salvage pump and themselves would be too much for the sinking boat, now full of water, to handle.
Station 64’s crew primed the salvage pump and at the very last second passed it to the man aboard the vessel who pumped out the water right before it was about to go under.
They then plugged the hole and towed the boat back safely to shore.
“All is well that ends well. Sometimes it’s building and maintaining international relationships or being at the right place and the right time to save a vessel,” Station 64 stated in their release.
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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