By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

The Gold Beach Fire Department’s water rescue division, in conjunction with the Curry County Sheriff’s Office, rescued three people from a sailboat in Gold Beach on June 8 near the mouth of the Rogue River.

The boat had become stuck in shallow water.

James and Carrie Mithels from the Vancouver area of Canada were rescued, along with Capt. Ayla Joy Love, who they had hired, according to Port of Gold Beach Supervisor Aaron Duncan.

“The situation wasn’t really life threatening,” James Mithels said. “We were only in about 3 feet of water, but the boat rolled on its side and that wasn’t optimum.”

Gold Beach Fire Chief Tyson Krieger said he piloted a jet ski with Capt. Tim Bolster as the rescue swimmer.

Bolster finished his Swift Water Rescue I and II last year, according to Krieger. “We rescued the first passenger from the vessel and returned them to a shore party waiting near the south jetty,” he said.

Sheriff’s Dep. Garrett Shannon rode with Krieger to retrieve the second passenger, and Bolster and Krieger rescued passenger number three.

Another boat towed the sailboat in when the tide rose, Krieger said, and the Mithels safely returned to Canada.

“We were stuck there for four or five days and had to find a trailer and a hauler through CraigsList out of Eugene,” Mithels said. “About one more day and we would have walked away on the whole thing.”

The boat was too damaged to sail, so it was hauled to Bellingham, Washington, for repairs, according to Mithels.

The U.S. Coast Guard has a seasonal station in Gold Beach, according to Curry County Sheriff John Ward, but has been unable to bring its boats in this year due to low water and are waiting for dredging to occur.

Gold Beach Fire is about to put a jet boat into service, according to Krieger.

He said the new boat would let them help with rescues in the Rogue Bay as well as near-shore rescues on adjacent beaches.

Ward and Krieger said they are working on an agreement so Gold Beach Fire can aid in water-related incidents.

The agreement is necessary, Ward said, because his office is responsible for all county search and rescue operations and any group that helps does so under its umbrella.

“If we ask for them help,” he said, “the agreement specifies they pay for their own costs and are responsible for their actions at rescue scenes.”

Krieger said, “Gold Beach has good numbers of volunteers and is setting the standards for required training levels to be a safe and effective tool in water safety in central Curry.”

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