Seven children and three adults were rescued by the Coast Guard Tuesday night after their raft started taking on water near Portage Island in Bellingham Bay.
Shortly after 6 p.m., a Coast Guard watchstander at Station Bellingham received a phone call from a woman aboard the raft who said the raft was taking on water off Point Francis on Portage Island. The station launched a boat crew for the rescue operation, according to a news release from the Coast Guard.
The seven children had life jackets on, but there were none available for the three adults.
The Coast Guard wasn’t sure how much water the raft was taking on, but said the rescue crew was most concerned the adults didn’t have life jackets available, said Levi Read, public affairs specialist for the Coast Guard.
“We do recommend people know what they’re capable of handling, whether it be heat conditions or weather conditions, and that they’re wearing their life jackets at all times because you never know when an emergency situation can happen,” Read said. “The main concern is the three adults. Not only were they not wearing them (life jackets), but they didn’t even have them available. They’re lucky the situation didn’t turn into a tragedy.”
“It’s just important to be aware of what you can handle in the situations you put yourself in,” Read added.
The Coast Guard Bellingham Station is currently not pursuing citations against the rescued adults, but its Puget Sound sector may look at charges later, according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Larson.
“It seems they just got stuck in an unfortunate situation. They drifted way further than expected,” Larson said.
No injuries were reported and no medical assistance was needed.