Coast Guard rescues seven after megayacht takes on water

(SEATTLE) — The U.S. Coast Guard rescued seven people over the weekend after the 143-foot yacht they were aboard took on water and became disabled 25 miles off the Washington coast.

Watch standers at the Coast Guard Sector Columbia River command center received a radio call from the crew of the vessel at 6 a.m. Saturday, reporting the yacht was taking on water due to the transom door opening and failing to close.

Coast Guard crews from Station Grays Harbor and Station Quillayute River respond to a 143-foot yacht taking on water off the Washington coast on Saturday. U.S. Coast Guard photo

After observing smoke, yacht crewmembers also engaged the engine room fire suppression system, at which time the vessel became disabled. The crew then energized their emergency batteries in order to maintain communications.

Sector Columbia River dispatched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria and motor lifeboat crews from Station Grays Harbor and Station Quillayute River.

The helicopter crew was the first to arrive and gave updates to the Coast Guard watch standers. There were no medical concerns for the crew or reports of pollution from the yacht.

The boat crews arrived around 7:30 a.m. and stood by to support. Due to the yacht exceeding the towing capacity of the lifeboats, Coast Guard cutter Active, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter, was diverted to the area.

Active arrived on scene around 2:30 p.m. and the crew placed the yacht in a stern tow. All crewmembers from the yacht were transferred to the cutter during the tow evolution. The crew of Active began towing the vessel toward the Strait of Juan De Fuca entrance where the tow would be passed to a commercial salvage company.

On Sunday at approximately 3 p.m., after a nearly 24-hour transit, the crew of Active arrived near Neah Bay and transferred the tow to a commercial tug. The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Blue Shark, an 87-foot patrol boat, also arrived to the area to act as the on-scene coordinator. The crew of Active returned to their scheduled patrol.

The commercial tug was scheduled to tow the yacht to a shipyard in Port Angeles, Wash., where repairs can be completed.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller