At approximately 11 am on Friday, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Juneau Command Center were made aware that a boater had fallen overboard from his skiff in Thomas Basin in Ketchikan and could not get back into his watercraft.
The boater, whose name was not disclosed, had gone into the water, and his skiff, still under power was going in circles around him.
A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium was launched from Ketchikan at the Juneau Command Center’s request. The crew arrived at the scene at 11:10 am, but by that time the Thomas Basin Harbor Master and a good samaritan had already plucked the mariner from the water. The Coast Guard remained on the scene as the harbor Master and good samaritan managed to get the vessel under control and safely moored at the pier.
“We are grateful for the good Samaritan, the Thomas Basin harbormaster, and the Ketchikan Police Department for their quick and effective response,” said Petty Officer 1st class Jared Buchmiller, the Sector Juneau command duty officer. “When recreational vessel operators are unexpectedly ejected from their vessel, an engine shut off switch can stop the engine to prevent the vessel from colliding with the operator or nearby mariners.”
On April 1, 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard will implement a law passed by Congress that requires operators of recreational vessels less than 26 feet in length to use an engine cut-off switch (ECOS) and associated ECOS link (ECOSL).
There were no injuries in the incident.