The crew of a BC Ferries vessel is being credited with rescuing a woman who was in the waters of Fanny Bay on Vancouver Island, clinging to the side of a sailboat for more than half an hour Tuesday evening.
Using a rapid response boat from the Baynes Sound Connector, the crew assisted the Texada Island woman out of the water after she fell in while trying to get into an inflatable dinghy from her 9-metre racing vessel.
The Baynes Sound Connector as it returns to shore after the rescue on Feb. 28, 2023. (CTV News)
The woman’s partner tells CTV News that they were transferring supplies between the dinghy and the boat when the woman slipped into the ocean.
“She just lost her footing,” he said. “I just couldn’t get her out of the water and we had the dog in this little dinghy as well.”
The mariner called 911 and was connected to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre.
“Operator 262 came on the line and she stayed on the line with me the whole time until BC Ferries got there,” he said. “They had a rapid boat in the water within 10 minutes and two guys from BC Ferries came and got her out of the water.”
The woman’s partner says he has been a volunteer firefighter with the Van Anda Fire Department on Texada Island and says he purchased the racing boat in October.
Although he checked out everything on the vessel, he hadn’t checked the boat’s ladder, which wasn’t functional when he needed to get his partner out of the water.
“I didn’t deploy the ladder and that was totally negligent on my part. Deploy all safety gear in a safe environment before you go out,” he said.
The man says he lived on the water for 12 years and unfortunately this wasn’t his first man-overboard situation. He was wearing a survival suit but his partner only had a life jacket because the store was sold out of survival suits, he said.
He will likely purchase one of those and says his first order of business Wednesday morning will be to purchase a larger dinghy.
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