HMCS Regina rescues stranded sailor drifting at sea

Photo courtesy HMCS Regina

Photo courtesy HMCS Regina

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer

A retired U.S Veteran has HMCS Regina to thank for ending his stranded-at-sea predicament.

The man was attempting to sail between Port Angeles, Washington, and Anchorage, Alaska, by himself on a 30-foot recreational sail boat.

The warship received a request to investigate a sailboat-in-distress call from Esquimalt’s Regional Joint Operations Centre (RJOC) on Saturday May 1.

They found him approximately 25 nautical miles west of Nootka Sound, and sent out a search and rescue (SAR) response team in the ship’s RHIB.

According to LCdr Dave Dallin, Regina’s Executive Officer, the small sailboat was in poor condition, without electricity or communication capability, had taken on water during a storm, which destroyed his sails, and was gradually drifting southwest into the open ocean.

“He was relieved to have assistance but really had no idea the depth of his vessel’s disarray,” said LCdr Dallin.

Regina’s SAR Team consisted of SLt Mitch Barr, Naval Boarding Party Officer; PO2 Raymond Moore, Boatswain; Cpl Scott Edney, Medical Technician; S1 Steven Desfosses, Marine Engineer; and Boatswains S1 Michelle Germain and S1 Tommy Mailloux.

Cpl Edney determined the man did not require immediate medical attention. He was given a care package of food from the ship’s galley as his supplies were almost gone. Due to COVID-19 protocol, the stranded sailor remained on board while the boat was towed to the nearest safe harbour. 

Junior Boatswain S2 Germain was lauded by her shipmates for her proficiency driving the tow boat, having only performed the procedure in training.

“I am very proud of her work, she did very well, was calm and professional, and exceeded the standards of operation and showed superior seamanship,” said her supervisor PO2 Moore.

S2 Germain was assisted in driving the RHIB by S1 Tommy Mailloux as the two took turns at the controls for the duration of the tow.  S2 Germain said factors that made the tow difficult included towing a larger, heavier vessel through strong currents and sizable waves of up to three metres and winds of 15 to 25 knots, but in the end rated it as a valuable learning experience.

“This man was definitely in need of our help and we saved a life on this day,” she said. “This at-sea rescue is one of the aspects of our work in the RCN that gives us all a true feeling of satisfaction and a job well done.”

The tow took approximately five hours; the disabled vessel was then handed over to a Canadian Coast Guard vessel in protected waters. They towed the vessel to a port located near Gold River, B.C, where the individual was met by members of Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP, and given medical attention.

“It was a very complicated rescue situation but one which was certainly not outside of the skill set, nautical and seamanship skills, and expertise of any RCN crew member,” said LCdr Dallin. “When you put all the pieces together in a tense situation like this, we saw the best of what Canadian sailors are all about shine through in spades.”


Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.