Keen observation and quick action by the captain and crew of the Whatcom Chief saved two kayakers on Thursday, July 16. During a routine trip between Lummi Island and the mainland, Whatcom Chief Captain Gary Poole noticed a kayak in the distance that was abnormally far from shore. Poole has been a ferry captain for more than 20 years, and the combination of the boat’s unusual location and lack of movement made him uneasy, so he decided to divert the ferry from its course to investigate.
As they approached, the crew found kayak paddles floating away from the kayak and an 18-20-year-old man with a 3-year-old child in the water. The child was wearing a life vest, but the adult was not. Deck crew members Tom Phillips and Doug Cash immediately pulled both of the kayakers onto the ferry and checked the two for injuries. Both kayakers were reunited with an older family member when the ferry docked at the Gooseberry Point terminal.
“We are extremely proud of Captain Poole for his keen observations and crew members Tom Philips and Doug Cash for their quick and professional response,” Whatcom County Public Works Assistant Director Elizabeth Kosa said. “Our ferry employees do an outstanding job on a daily basis, and this is one of the more dramatic examples of them going above and beyond for our community.”