Quick action by an Ilwaco charter boat captain and his deckhand saved the lives of three fishermen last week. The three fishermen’s vessel began taking on water around 7:00 A.M. after crossing the bar and starting to fish just west of Cape Disappointment. The operator of the vessel, Dirk Irwin noticed the vessel was low in the stern and when the engine compartment was opened it was discovered to be flooded. The bilge pump failed and within minutes the engine quit. Irwin issued a May Day message to the Coast Guard indicating he was sinking and in need of immediate help. According to the news report Irwin’s boat, which he had borrowed from a friend, sank shortly after his call for help was made. Luckily, Irwin and two 16-year-old passengers, Justin Williamson and Jake Kazamecki, were able to get on life preservers before the vessel sank.
Irwin’s radio message calling for help was heard by a near by Pacific Salmon Charters skipper, Brian Cables. Cables quick action would save the three fishermen’s lives. Cable piloted his charter boat the Pacific Dream, which had 16 passengers on board, to the area where Irwin reported his boat was sinking. With the aid of his deck hand, and the sixteen passengers aboard his charter boat Cables spotted the three Fishermen in the water. Deckhand Patrick Gore threw the three fishermen a life ring and with the aid of charter passengers on the Pacific Dream pulled the three crewmen aboard the charter boat.
The rescued fishermen were suffering from signs of hypothermia. They were transferred to a Coast Guard motor lifeboat and taken back to Cape Disappointment Coast Guard Station for medical evaluation. Search of the area was unable to locate the sunken vessel.
Irwin who was described in news reports as an experienced fisherman stated he thought that the seal or bellows blew out on the out drive causing the vessel to sink. Irwin praises the Captain and crew of the Pacific Dream for saving his and his three passengers lives. Irwin stated that next time he goes fishing his boat would have a flare gun, waterproof handheld radio, and a life raft on board. Irwin and his three passengers were back at it the next day returning as charter boat passengers aboard Cable boat the Pacific Dream.
In an emergency like this it is important to be able to accurately report the position of your vessel to rescuers and wear flotation devices. All vessels should have operational bilges and high and low water alarms to warn of possible flooding of interior compartments such as the engine housing. Hypothermia can quickly lead to drowning in the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. Cable, Gore and the passengers aboard the Pacific Dream actions were instrumental in avoiding a tragedy for Irwin and his two passengers. The crew of the Pacific Dream is to be commended for their quick actions in rescuing the fishermen in need of help.