Good samaritans, Coast Guard help rescue capsized boaters near Tokeland

Neither of the two men sustained serious injury.

A pair of men were plucked from the water near Tokeland on Monday morning after their skiff capsized while they were pulling crab pots.

Neither of the men, who were picked up initially by a nearby vessel before the Coast Guard took them aboard, suffered any serious injury, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Garrett Boob from Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor.

The call came in around 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Boob said. The station responded by deploying a 29-foot-boat, towing their boat via truck and trailer to the scene to deploy more rapidly, Boob said. Boob was the vessel’s coxswain and oversaw the response.

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“We got a report that there was a capsized vessel over in Tokeland with two persons in the water,” Boob said in a phone interview. “Enroute, we got another call that a good Samaritan had picked up them.”

The Coast Guard boat crew got their boat in the water and met the vessel that had rendered assistance, taking the two men aboard. The names of the men have not been released.

“We talked to them for a little bit. From what we understand, they were pulling up a crab pot,” Boob said. “Just some bumps and bruises and cold. Other than that, they were fine.”

The skiff, a 19-footer, had gone over while the men were attempting to pull up a crab pot, Boob said. Both men were wearing lifevests, said Chief Dennis Benn of the South Beach Regional Fire Authority, whose personnel also responded to the call.

“The added flotation helps keep your head out of the water,” Benn said. “By doing that, it allows your body to retain that much more heat with all the blood that flows through there.”

Pacific County Sheriff’s Office fielded the initial call before contacting the Coast Guard and the SBRFA. The two men had spent about five minutes in the water, Benn said; they were evaluated by medical personnel but declined further treatment.

After dropping off the two men, Boob said they investigated the capsized skiff, but it was already blowing toward shore.

“I’d say to 2 to 4 foot waves, kind of choppy,” Boob said. “The wind was kinda stiff, but nothing unusual.”

Taking care and thinking ahead can help avoid turning a trip to pull pots into a surprise opportunity to get to know your local Coast Guardsmen better, Boob said.

“Eyeball the situation. Know the capabilities of your boat. Overloading one side of the boat is going to put you at a disadvantage,” Boob said. “Our main concern is always the safety of the people on board.”

The call was not a common one for the fire department, Benn said.

“We probably get called for a person in the water, a person off a boat once a year,” Benn said. “Pay attention to the tides and the weather forecast and know the limitations of your vessel.”

Another vessel with five people aboard capsized near Tokeland recently, Boob said, but they were recovered by another fisherman and the Coast Guard didn’t receive a request for assistance.

Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or