U.S. Coast Guard crews safely escorted two small fishing vessels, one of which was taking on water, back to the dock after they apparently collided in thick fog about 12 miles offshore early Wednesday morning.
The Coast Guard will investigate the cause of the incident, which was called into Station Yaquina Bay shortly after 5 a.m. The station immediately launched both of its 47-foot motor lifeboats and quickly located the vessels. Sector North Bend also dispatched a helicopter to the scene, and after the chopper’s arrival, one of the 47 footers was sent back to watch the bar and stand by in case needed.
Both fishing boats — the F/V Chief Joseph and the F/V Linda — were still operable, but the Linda sustained damage to its hull and was taking on water. The Coast Guard crew passed over a pump in case it was needed to keep the fishing vessel afloat.
The Coasties escorted both vessels, and their unharmed crews of two each, back to dock by about 7:30 a.m. and then conducted a safety boarding — a routine inspection required after any Coast Guard assistance, such as escort or towing.
While the cause of the reported collision is officially undetermined, a post by the Coast Guard Pacific Northwest District 13 Facebook page originally referred to the incident as an “allision” — a commonly obsolete term for when a moving object strikes a stationary object. The post was later edited to read that two vessels “hit each other.”
Station Yaquina Bay Commander Ryan O’Meara said he’s thankful everyone involved arrived at the dock safely given the potentially dire circumstances. He said overall boat traffic for active fisheries was heavy in the foggy conditions thanks to calm seas.
“Having a boat take on water 12 miles from shore, that’s an all-hands-on-deck evolution,” O’Meara said. “We take those calls very seriously and throw kind of everything we have at them. It worked out for the best. Taking on water 12 miles from shore is no joke. They were able to keep up with it, but that could have turned at any point into a situation with people in the water.”