A Coast Guard aircrew hoisted two mariners from a 52-foot Canadian-flagged sailing vessel 5-miles west of Grays Harbor, Saturday.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria in Warrenton, safely transported the mariners to Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor in Westport, Washington, after they had been underway for 10 days and were unable to return to port due to unsafe bar conditions and mechanical problems.
“There are currently gale warnings, high surf advisories and small craft advisories for wind, rough bar and hazardous seas in affect along the Oregon and Washington coasts, with more weather systems predicted to arrive early next week,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Starr Franklin, operations unit controller at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River in Warrenton. “We strongly urge checking the weather prior to getting underway and highly caution against going out in adverse weather.”
Sector Columbia River watchstanders received a call from the vessel’s operator at 8:05 a.m. while they were trying to cross the Grays Harbor bar. The bar is restricted to all recreational and uninspected vessels due to severe weather however, two 47-foot Motor Life Boat crews from Station Grays Harbor in Westport, are ready to escort vessels in the case of emergencies.
Despite the potential aid of the Coast Guard boat crews, the bar was still too dangerous for the sailboat to cross, in addition to the mariners reporting their rudder had become tangled in a crab pot line and they loss their primary power after their fuel tank reportedly ruptured. The mariners were able to anchor the vessel and don survival suits prior to being safely hoisted by the Jayhawk crew.
Weather on scene was reportedly 12-foot high seas, winds up to 25 mph, with 49 f water temperature and 50 F air temperature.