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Sunken dinghy sparks emergency search between Whidbey and Camano islands

Coupeville Deputy Marshal Jim Covert examines a small dinghy found mostly submerged in the waters between Camano and Whidbey Islands. The discovery resulted in at least five emergency response boats searching the area for a person in the water.  - Justin Burnett/Whidbey News-Times
Coupeville Deputy Marshal Jim Covert examines a small dinghy found mostly submerged in the waters between Camano and Whidbey Islands. The discovery resulted in at least five emergency response boats searching the area for a person in the water.
— image credit: Justin Burnett/Whidbey News-Times

Local and federal emergency responders scoured the waters between Camano and Whidbey Islands Tuesday morning following the discovery of a mostly submerged dinghy.

The 12-foot Hewes Craft aluminum boat was found about a mile off the Camano Island Yacht Club dock by Oak Harbor residents Bob and Karen Nelson at about 11 a.m. Fearing the worst and not wanting to leave the small craft behind, the couple called 911 and towed it to the Coupeville Wharf behind their 40-foot trawler.

According to Coupeville Deputy Marshal Jim Covert, at least five rescue boats from fire departments on both islands searched the area where the small craft was found just to be sure that no one had fallen overboard. An 87-foot U.S. Coast Guard vessel was also en route.

The search was called off shortly after Covert examined the rickety old boat arrived at the wharf.

“This has all the makings of someone’s beach house dinghy that just came loose,” Covert said.

The Nelsons were happy no one was hurt. Towing the boat to the wharf was no problem, they said, because they had just picked up friends from the Camano yacht club and were headed to Coupeville for lunch when they found it.

“It worked out quite well,” said Karen, with a laugh.

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