Thursday, November 19, 2020

Ferries crews step up when needed most this fall

A series of rescues highlight the training and customer care by our workers

By Justin Fujioka and Mike Allende

While summer is typically the busiest time for travel about our ferries, the fall has been very busy for a different reason for our crews.

Since September, we've been involved in six rescues and/or medical emergencies, including three by our Puyallup crew alone! All of our crew members receive extensive safety, first-aid and firefighting training and regularly conduct rescue training exercises, and these events illustrate why.
Our ferries crews undergo extensive safety training including firefighting, and regularly conduct
rescue boat training, to prepare for emergencies.

Two in one day for Puyallup
On Labor Day, Sept. 7, our Puyallup crew saved the lives of multiple boaters in two separate rescues! The first involved a man suffering from heart problems on a nearby pleasure craft by our Kingston terminal. Our crew quickly deployed its rescue boat with Second Mate Jesse Rongo and Able-Bodied Seaman Cory Weitz aboard. The two of them began chest compressions and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) before safely navigating the vessel back to shore where medical responders took over. Just a few hours later, Jesse and Cory were back in the same rescue boat to assist in saving five people and two dogs after their vessel capsized off Edmonds. Incredible work by Cory and Jesse!
Puyallup crews deploy the ferry’s rescue boat to assist in a rescue off of Edmonds on Sept. 7, one of two
rescues they made on that day! (photo courtesy Janine Harles)

Puyallup crew back at it
On Nov. 1, the Puyallup crew stepped up again when two jet skiers and their dog were stranded in the water between Edmonds and Kingston when one of the jet skiers fell off their vehicle thanks to a large wake. Chief Mate John McMillen noticed one of the jet skiers waving a handkerchief for help and a rescue boat was launched. Our crew gathered the two people and dog and once aboard the ferry, the crew and three passengers who happened to be nurses treated the person who was in the water for 20 minutes for hypothermia until emergency medical services took over upon arrival in Kingston. Again, great job Puyallup crew!
Able-bodied seamen Steve Long and Jon Gordon Pine saved two jet skiers and their dog in the waters between Edmonds and Kingston on Nov. 1 (photo by Michele Soderstrom)

Saving a life aboard the Wenatchee
A week after our Puyallup crew pulled the jet skiers from the water, our crew aboard Wenatchee helped save a rider suffering from a medical emergency on Nov. 7. After our crew alerted 911, they used an AED on the rider until emergency medical services met them on board at the Bremerton terminal. Fantastic work in this life-saving emergency by our Wenatchee crew!
Shortly after departing Bainbridge on Nov. 1, Wenatchee returned to the terminal
as crews assisted with a medical emergency.

Walla Walla, Tokitae crews to the rescue
On Nov. 18, our Walla Walla crew noticed a kite surfer struggling in the water off of Edmonds. Launching a rescue boat from the terminal, they reached the person and brought them ashore into the care of emergency medical services. At about the same time, our Tokitae crew jumped into action when a paramedic transporting a patient alerted them that the person's condition was worsening. Our crew assisted with CPR and expedited the sailing from Clinton to Mukilteo.
While docked at Edmonds, Walla Walla crew members spotted a kite surfer in distress and launched
a rescue boat to bring them to safety.

We are so proud and thankful for our ferries crews for stepping up when needed most. These events highlight why their first aid and rescue training are so vital. Safety and care of our passengers is always our top priority and we salute all of our colleagues who were involved in these rescues!