Deputies with the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office rescued a couple of stranded fishermen in the Elk River estuary early Friday morning. Chief Criminal Deputy Brad Johansson said they were called to assist a 55-year-old Westport man and a 43-year-old Aberdeen man when their 16 foot fishing boat became stuck in the mud flats.
The men were fishing around 5:00 PM when they got out of the river channel and their boat got stuck in the mud flats. The tide was going out at the time and they attempted to dislodge the boat unsuccessfully. During the attempt to free the boat, their clothes got wet and muddy. The pair decided to wait for the incoming tide to free the boat. As night fell and temperatures dropped the men started getting cold and feared getting hypothermia so they called for help. The Coast Guard initially responded but were unable to get to the men in the shallow inland waters approximately one mile SE of the Elk River Bridge.
The Sheriff’s Office Marine Services Unit launched their 16 foot jet sled which they use for situations like this. When they located the males they were cold and shivering but in satisfactory condition. The tide had now risen enough to free the stuck boat. The deputies assisted the fisherman back to the boat launch with the lights from the patrol boat.
The Sheriff’s Office recommends that when enjoying the outdoors wear clothing that adapts to our ever changing weather conditions. Have enough clothing you can spend the night outside in an emergency. We also recommend bringing supplies such as food, water, emergency blankets and supplies to start a fire if needed. You can buy inexpensive fire starters that can really help starting a fire in an emergency. Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.