Coast Guard assists local agencies in recovering three mariners near Coquille River, Ore.
Sep 24th, 2016
BANDON, OR – Coast Guard air and boat crews and local agencies worked together to recover three mariners near Bandon, Ore., Saturday morning.
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Sector North Bend recovered two mariners in the water while Bandon Police personnel recovered a third mariner from the rocks on the south jetty and transferred them to local Emergency Medical Service personnel.
At 9:20 a.m., Coast Guard Sector North Bend received a call from the Coquille River Sherriff’s office, after a local fisherman reported seeing an 18 to 20-foot recreational vessel being hit by a wave while crossing the Coquille River bar.
The three mariners were reported to be unresponsive and were transferred to local EMS personnel waiting in the south jetty parking lot, which had been closed to the public.
Agencies also on scene included Oregon State Police and California Highway Patrol personnel.
A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Coast Guard Station Coos Bay, located in Charleston, reported 6 to 8-foot breaking waves when arriving on scene shortly after the incident occurred.
“The Coast Guard reminds mariners to always wear a lifejacket and check the national marine weather forecast prior to getting underway,” said Mr. Kary Moss, commanding officer, Coast Guard Station Coos Bay. “Prior to crossing the bar, any time there is a small craft advisory for hazardous seas, please contact the Coast Guard.”
The vessel is beached and a salvage company has been contracted to recover the boat.
BANDON, OR – Three men are dead and the U.S. Coast Guard is on the scene in Bandon, where a recreational crab boat capsized Saturday morning. Coast Guard Sector North Bend's Petty Officer Second Class Ali Flockerzi said the station got the call at 9:20 a.m. that the boat disappeared in the waves at the Coquille River bar with three people on board.
"This was seen by a fisherman on the water," Flockerzi said. "They saw the boat, and then a wave took out the boat and it was gone and they couldn't see them anymore."
A Coast Guard 47-foot motor lifeboat crew from Station Coos Bay, located in Charleston, reported 6- to 8-foot breaking waves when arriving on scene shortly after the incident occurred.
Fishing guide Craig Paulson witnessed the boat attempting to cross the bar about 8:30 a.m. The bar was breaking all across and it was high tide, a combination that is considered dangerous by any experienced local fishermen. No other boats were heading across the bar this morning, Paulson told his wife Liza Ehle. He did not recognize the boat or the fishermen, and he knows all of the regular fishermen, both recreational and commercial, who fish in that area of the Coquille River.
The names of the victims have not yet been released pending notification of family. It is not believed they lived in Bandon, but were likely visitors staying in a local RV park south of town, witnesses said.
Paulson saw the boat, an 18-20-foot open console loaded with empty crab pots heading out at full speed across the bar, Ehle said. He didn't see the boat emerge from the first swell, but knows there is a drop-off just after the first swell and assumed the boat had made it across. A few minutes later he saw flotation devices and other debris and called the Coast Guard and a friend on shore, Gary Ellis, who headed to the South Jetty. At the jetty, Ellis said he saw that Bandon officers and the Sheriff's Office were already there on other non-emergent business, but were unaware of the boat that had apparently just capsized.
Emergency personnel arrived about 20 minutes later, including a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter dispatched from Sector North Bend, a Sheriff's Office boat that launched from the Bandon boat basin, and the Coast Guard motor lifeboat that came from Coos Bay, but did not cross the bar. Other agencies on scene included the U.S. Coast Guard, the Coos County Sheriff's Office, Bandon Police Department, Oregon State Police and Bay Cities Ambulance.
The MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Sector North Bend recovered two of the mariners in the water while Bandon Police personnel recovered a third person from the rocks on the south jetty and transferred them to local emergency medical service personnel. All three were later pronounced dead.
Paulson and others said they saw three men on the boat, but since that detail could not be confirmed, the Coast Guard continued its search, in case there was another victim, and also to recover the wreckage.
Port of Bandon General Manager Gina Dearth was at the South Jetty just following the incident.
"Unsuspecting visitors with no bar history is a dangerous and deadly combination," Dearth said. "What started out as a beautiful day for these three men ended in tragedy. We are so sorry this happened to these families."
"Once the seasonal U.S. Coast Guard crew leaves, we are on our own," Dearth added. "What the Coast Guard did this morning was exceptional, as always, in recovering these men."
“The Coast Guard reminds mariners to always wear a lifejacket and check the national marine weather forecast prior to getting underway,” said Kary Moss, commanding officer, Coast Guard Station Coos Bay. "Prior to crossing the bar, any time there is a small craft advisory for hazardous seas, please contact the Coast Guard."
The vessel is now beached near the South Jetty and a salvage company has been contracted to recover the boat.
COQUILLE RIVER BAR HAZARDS
Always know the stage of the tide!
Avoid getting caught on the bar during an
It is normally best to cross the bar during slack
water or on a flood tide, when the seas are normally
REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS
The Coast Guard has established a Regulated Navigation Area. If the
yellow lights on this sign are flashing, a restriction has been placed on
recreational and uninspected passenger vessels crossing the bar. In
accordance with 33 CFR 165.1325, the U.S. Coast Guard has the authority
to restrict all recreational and uninspected passenger vessels from
crossing the bar when hazardous conditions exist. Failing to comply
with posted bar restrictions may result in a maximum civil penalty
WARNING SIGN LOCATIONS
A white diamond shape sign with an orange boarder
indicating “Rough Bar” and amber flashing lights is
located on the Old Coast Guard Station
facing up river toward the Port of Bandon.
When the amber lights are flashing,
hazardous conditions are present
and a bar restriction is in place. Mariners
should tune in to radio 1610 AM to listen to
the restriction information.
BAR CONDITIONS AND OBSERVATION REPORTS
Observed weather and bar conditions are updated every four hours or
more frequently if there is a significant change. Marine Information
Broadcasts on Channel 16 VHF FM are conducted by the Coast Guard
when hazardous bar conditions and restrictions are put into place or
are lifted. Mariners are strongly encouraged to monitor channel 16
VHF/FM for all notices and weather updates.
The AM radio broadcast is audible within a 3-mile radius from the
Coast Guard Station in Bandon. It provides a continual broadcast on
radio station 1610 AM containing bar conditions, bar restrictions, and
The Coast Guard Station on the Coquille River is operational when
the boating activity is significant enough to warrant the patrol, usually
Memorial Day through Labor Day.
You can also access current bar conditions and restrictions
on your smart phone or hand held device by going to,
CROSSING THE BAR
The bar is the area where the deep waters
of the Pacific Ocean meet with the shallower
waters near the mouth of the river.
Most accidents and deaths that occur
on coastal bars are from capsizing.
Coastal bars may be closed to recreational boats when conditions on
the bar are hazardous. Failure to comply with the closure may result
in voyage termination, and civil and/or criminal penalties. The regulations
are enforced by Coast Guard boarding teams.
Improper loading and/or overloading are major causes of capsizing.
Improper/overloaded boats have less stability and less freeboard,
which can allow seas to break into the vessel, causing the boat to
become even less stable.
Boats are more likely to capsize when crossing the bar from the ocean
because the seas are on the stern and the boater may have less control
over the vessel.
Boaters must make sure the bar is safe prior to crossing. Check with
other boaters or the Coast Guard to find out the condition
of the bar.
If you are caught on a rough bar running in…
Make sure everybody aboard is wearing a personal
Keep the boat square before the seas.
Keep the boat on the back of the swell.
Ride the swell and stay clear of the following wave.
Avoid sudden weight shifts from passengers or gear
moving around in the boat. If possible, have passengers
lie down as near the centerline of the boat as possible.
Do not allow the waves to catch your boat on the side (beam). This
condition is called broaching, and can easily result in capsizing.
Tides are the vertical rise and fall of the water and tidal current is
the horizontal flow of the water. There are roughly four tides each day
in the Pacific Northwest. Tidal movement toward the shore or upstream
is the flood current. Movement away from the shore or downstream
is the ebb current. The period between the two is known as
slack water. Tidal currents may gain tremendous velocity, particularly
when the ebb current is augmented by river runoff.
It is extremely dangerous to get caught on the bar during strong
ebb current. Even on days that are relatively calm, fast moving
ebb can create bar conditions that are too rough for small craft.
VHF-FM Radio: Channel 16
If in distress (threatened by grave and imminent danger):
1. Make sure radio is on
2. Select Channel 16
3. Press/Hold the transmit button
4. Speak slowly, and clearly say: MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY
5. Give the following information:
Vessel Name and/or Description u Nature of Emergency
Position and/or Location u Number of People Aboard
6. Release the Transmit Button
7. Wait for 10 seconds – If no response, repeat “Mayday”
call. If not in immediate danger, switch to CH 22 and
follow the same steps as above, except do not use the
Make Sure Everyone is Wearing a Life Jacket!
Phone 911. Tell the operator that you have a marine
emergency. Be ready to provide the same information
required in item number 5 of the mayday call.
Coast Guard Stations:
Coquille River (seasonal)
COQUILLE RIVER BAR HAZARDS BOATING SAFETY TIPS
- uCheck Weather, Tide, and Bar Conditions –
- The latest Information Can Be Heard on 1610 AM
- File a Float Plan With Friends/Relatives
- Don’t Overload Your Boat
- Wear Your Life Jacket
- Carry Flares and a VHF-FM Radio
- Stay Well Clear of Commercial Vessels
- Have Anchor With Adequate Line
- Boat Sober
CROSSING THE COQUILLE RIVER BAR
More Boating Safety Information: www.uscgboating.org and www.boatoregon.com
Boating Class and Vessel Safety Check Information: www.uscgaux.org/~130/,
www.usps.org or 1-800-336-BOAT (2628) (class information only)
Coos Bay, OR