The Queen of Oak Bay ferry provided a windbreak during a rescue operation in rough seas outside of Nanaimo last weekend.
Royal Canadian Navy search and rescue personnel from Nanaimo rescued a distressed sailboat east of Entry Island on Saturday evening.
RCM-SAR was dispatched at around 8:40 p.m. on August 7. More than one sailboat had problems on a windy night and, after an initial distress call, 911 was also required for the affected sailboat. communicate their contact details.
Russell Berg, Deputy Station Manager with RCM-SAR Stn. 27, said a BC Ferries ship was nearby, so rescuers requested the ferry’s help in an attempt to locate the distressed sailboat.
“They lit it up with their giant spotlight, and we basically saw it at the same time,” Berg said. “He was having a really hard time keeping up with the wind. “
The SAR lifeboat stopped beside the sailboat and attempted to guide it, but the two sailors on board were inexperienced.
“They were very scared and wondering if they were going to survive the night …” said Berg. “They were rocking back and forth, the whole interior of the boat, everything was everywhere.”
The Queen of Oak Bay had changed course and rescuers helped the sailboat get to the protected side of the ferry. Berg boarded the sailboat and attached a tow rope.
“Transferring from one boat to another in six foot seas can be quite dangerous, so having the ferry there was very helpful to give us calmer seas to work with …”, he declared. “It was a great cooperation between us and the ferry as they were able to provide us with a great wall of wind.”
Berg said RCM-SAR would like to thank not only BC Ferries but also the ferry passengers for their patience, as the Queen of Oak Bay’s arrival at Departure Bay was delayed by about an hour. Berg said rescuers could see passengers watching and filming from the railings.
“They applauded us… I have never had a rescue where I received applause,” he said.
RCM-SAR slowly towed the sailboat to Mark Bay in Saysutshun and safety and the two sailors did not require medical attention. Berg said the incident should be informative.
“Check the weather – they didn’t – and make sure your level of experience is appropriate for the weather conditions involved,” he said.