Coast Guard rescues kayakers, paddlers during windy race

December 14, 2021 GMT

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Marine rescue crews, including a boat from Coast Guard Station Bellingham, rescued more than 20 paddlers caught off guard and capsized by winds during the Deception Pass Challenge paddling and rowing race.

The Coast Guard received reports at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday that several kayak and paddleboarders capsized during a race through Deception Pass, the Coast Guard said in a release Monday. No injuries were reported, the Bellingham Herald reported.

Callers estimated that 15 to 20 of the 75 racers had capsized and were in the water due to high winds, the release said. Many others needed help getting back to shore.

The Coast Guard Cutter Adelie was already nearby when the call came in, according to the release. The Adelie crew recovered five people from the water and helped 20 kayakers to safety, the release said. The Coast Guard Cutter Sea Lion recovered two people from the water and helped 10 others to safety.

Capt. Patrick Hilbert, the commander of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, said the incident “reinforces the importance of wearing a life jacket and constantly assessing the increased risks posed by the weather and water conditions that are always changing here in the Pacific Northwest.”