Man rescued from water off Oak Harbor after boat capsizes

A Coast Guard rescue swimmer swam a man to shore in Oak Harbor after his boat capsized Sunday.

The Coast Guard rescued a man who tried to swim to shore after his sailboat capsized in the water off of Oak Harbor on Sunday, Nov. 22.

It was just after 4 p.m. Sunday when North Whidbey Fire and Rescue received the call for a marine rescue, Chief John Clark said.

As North Whidbey crews were preparing to launch, they learned a Coast Guard helicopter was in the area.

Clark said a Coast Guard rescue swimmer jumped in the water, grabbed the man and swam to shore with him.

Several people watched the rescue from downtown Oak Harbor and posted pictures to social media.

Clark said he did not know the man’s age nor where he is from.

The boater was treated and released when he was back on land.

North Whidbey crews retrieved the small sailboat, which Clark said was less than 20 feet long.

“It was 15 to 20 mph winds and he was in a small sailboat,” Clark said.

“The water was pretty choppy yesterday,” he added.

Boaters should always wear a life jacket while on the water, officials advise.

According to the Washington State Parks boating program fact sheet, cold shock occurs within the first three to five minutes of being immersed in water below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and can include involuntary gasping, hyperventilation, vertigo and panic.

Immersion in cold water can also change blood pressure, heart rate and heart rhythm, which can result in drowning. Prolonged immersion will lead to hypothermia and can be deadly.

Average water temperatures in Puget Sound range from the mid-40s to mid-50s degrees Fahrenheit year-round, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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