Ruby Lilly sinks 100+ miles off Grays Harbor; owner rescued

The Coast Guard rescued a man in an emergency life raft Saturday offshore of Grays Harbor after his boat sank. 

Just before midnight Friday, the Coast Guard received an emergency notification from the fishing vessel Ruby Lily approximately 132 miles from Grays Harbor. 

Watchstanders launched crews from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria, Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento and the Coast Guard Cutter Alert to respond.

A U.S. Navy aircraft in the area responded to the scene and reported one person aboard a life raft. The man aboard, who was also the owner of the Ruby Lily, reported he was safe in the raft with two weeks of food and water. 

The Coast Guard says that a good Samaritan vessel in the area offered assistance, but the man on the raft reportedly refused. 

When a helicopter from Air Station Astoria arrived on scene they deployed a rescue swimmer, but it was reported that the man also refused to be hoisted into the helicopter and insisted on a surface recovery.

Prior to departing the scene, the Coast Guard helicopter supplied the man with flares and a Coast Guard position locating beacon. 

As crews remained in the area to monitor the situation, they conducted a well-fare check on the man who reportedly requested to be transferred off the life raft. 

Once transferred off the life raft, a medical assessment was conducted  and the man was reported to be in stable condition. 

The man reported that Ruby Lily had begun taking on water at a fast rate and completely sank. 

At 8:10 a.m., Blue Shark moored in Westport to transfer the recovered man.

“This case was a success because the mariner had a registered beacon, and it was activated, allowing crews to get on scene quick.” said Scott Giard, the Coast Guard 13th District Search and Rescue Program Manager. “In this case, the subject was further offshore, so VHF-FM radio and cell phone coverage is scarce or scant. Reporting distress early gives rescue crews valuable time to get on scene fast, every second counts during any search and rescue case. This mariners EPIRB saved his life. Having a registered beacon can be the difference between locating a person in distress within minutes or days.”