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High winds swamp boats off Whidbey

Boaters aboard a demasted catamaran drift near Cultus Bay on Saturday after high winds disabled their vessel. - David Welton / The Record
Boaters aboard a demasted catamaran drift near Cultus Bay on Saturday after high winds disabled their vessel.
— image credit: David Welton / The Record

Heavy winds swamped boats across Puget Sound on Saturday and the Coast Guard was called out to rescue boaters off South Whidbey and Camano Island.

Coast Guard officials reported "many cases" of boats going adrift and overturning.

On Saturday afternoon, an MH-65 helicopter from the Coast Guard's Air Station Port Angeles was diverted to Cultus Bay to rescue four people aboard a demasted catamaran. Emergency personnel from North Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue got to the catamaran first and reported the boaters had successfully righted the vessel and were safe before the helicopter crew arrived.

Near Camano Island, a catamaran was blown over and sent two people into the water. The Coast Guard contacted North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, Camano Fire and Rescue, and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island for assistance while its MH-65 helicopter crew returned to Port Angeles to refuel. Camano Fire and Rescue rescued the two people from the water while North Whidbey Fire and Rescue arrived on scene and righted the vessel.

Officials said the Coast Guard had to retrieve many unmanned boats that were not properly anchored and began drifting in the Sound.

Winds as high as 40 mph were reported in some locations on Saturday. The Coast Guard said no injuries were reported on Saturday.

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