UPDATE: Water-rescue response off Beach Drive

1:14 PM: A Seattle Fire water-rescue response is headed for the 5600 block of Beach Drive [map] after a report of someone possibly in trouble offshore. Updates to come.

1:17 PM: SFD says the report was that a kite-surfer appeared to be in trouble. They’re sending land and water crews to look.

1:27 PM: The search has relocated to the 5000 block of Beach Drive. They’re still not seeing anyone or anything.

1:42 PM: Boats are helping search (including SPD and Coast Guard – texted photo added above) but there is still no sign of anyone in trouble.

1:28 PM: The search is being scaled down, after a report that someone saw a surfer matching the description – with brightly colored gear – getting safely out of the water, but they’re still not certain that was the same surfer.

1:54 PM: Now they’ve talked to someone they do believe was the surfer in question, and they’re safe.

16 Replies to "UPDATE: Water-rescue response off Beach Drive"

  • Dawn February 6, 2021 (2:04 pm)

    So glad to know they’re okay! When I saw the search heading this far north I was hoping that was the case.

  • cjboffoli February 6, 2021 (3:38 pm)

    If I had a dollar for every “turned out to be nothing” water rescue callout, in the 15 years I’ve lived in West Seattle, I’d have my own jet on 24 hour standby. 

    • DH February 6, 2021 (3:53 pm)

      So are they supposed to ignore someone in distress? I’m just wondering how you think it should work.

    • R2 February 6, 2021 (5:53 pm)

      Seriously! Other people caring about other people is such an inconvenience.

    • USCG February 6, 2021 (6:39 pm)

      You are absolutely right.  People need to stop guessing/assuming that absolutely anyone out there is automatically in trouble.  This is getting ridiculous.  I work out on the water doing these rescues and it wastes huge resources and puts others in very serious danger.Please people, call when someone is in distress. Not simply anytime someone is kite surfing!  You’re putting others at risk. Thanks. 

      • Reed February 7, 2021 (8:07 am)

        Please explain how a lay person is supposed to distinguish between someone who is ok versus in distress, particularly at a distance when verbal communication is likely hindered ( eg by the wind yesterday).The general public is supposed to call 911 if they suspect a person or property is in imminent danger; the first responders can assess the validity of that once on site.If you actually are with the USCG, then your post is shockingly concerning. If your CO dispatches you for a water rescue, it’s not up to you to decide if it is a waste of resources, just follow your orders. Consider it training.

        • USCG February 7, 2021 (6:34 pm)

          Wow Reed. Can’t believe your offensive personal attack post got through.  Before you attack someone you should about learn about what you speak.  You’re wrong. 

  • Craig February 6, 2021 (4:58 pm)

    Agree with the basic point that there are a lot of water rescues that turn out to be nothing. That’s ultimately a good thing. Nobody is saying they shouldn’t be investigated or responded to. Chill. 

  • Dan February 6, 2021 (6:26 pm)

    Thanks to the  WSB  for prompt and detailed reporting.  I live nearby…wondering what is going on!  While I didn’t report it I did see the kite surfer struggling to get back on after falling off.  The number of SFD vehicles was really numerous for a water rescue.  Glad to hear person was ok but maybe SFD might consider how better to respond to water rescues in the future without expending so many resources.  Coast guard also responded maybe 5 min after the SFD.  

  • Drone February 6, 2021 (7:59 pm)

    One word: drone

  • Don’t give-up-itis February 6, 2021 (9:01 pm)

    Good to try and help when you see someone in possible peril on the water, thank you to whoever tried to help. You couldn’t have known if they would recover on their own, and it may have been too late if you waited. It’s probably hard to tell sometimes from a distance, but I would think all of you would rather someone not second guess the seriousness of your situation from shore if you were in trouble out there.

  • AIDM February 6, 2021 (11:17 pm)

    Kite surfers use a technique where they sit atop their kite and sail it back into shore if they break a line or burst a kite chamber. And they almost always only surf during onshore winds in order to make this feasible. What is unfortunate these days is that the lay public has a very different view of rescue and particularly self-rescue than people who engage in more active lifestyles. This kiteboarder was likely working through a systematic process to remedy a minor malfunction and the onlooker was concerned to not see them actively kiting and surfing. If someone is not waving or signaling for help and appears active and unharmed its probably best not to assume they are in distress.

  • newnative February 7, 2021 (9:05 am)

    No one is saying not to report when someone is in distress. What’s odd is that someone is watching the water close enough to see someone “in distress” but seems to stop looking to notice that they have safely gotten to shore or back in their boat or whatever. If I lived there, I’d probably keep my binoculars handy so I could determine what I’m looking at. Remember the parachutist that turned out to be Mylar balloons? How many people in distress have been casually walking around wondering what’s going on? 

  • Paula White February 7, 2021 (11:30 am)

    The reason for such a large turnout by SFD may have been for training and/or real situation practice. I emphasize the word “may” as I have no idea what their standard practice is.

    • WSB February 7, 2021 (3:24 pm)

      The large turnout is standard for a water rescue. We’ve had this discussion so many times. Each responding unit has q particular role – medical, rescue swimmers if needed, divers if needed, incident commander, etc. Same with structure fires. If it turns out to be a life and death situation, everyone is there, rather than losing minutes dispatching units (some of the specialty units come from the other side of the bay) after an assessment.

      P.S. If you listen to the radio communication for certain incidents, you’ll hear something like “water rescue SOG in effect.” That’s standard operating guidelines, and they are codified:

      • USCG February 7, 2021 (6:43 pm)

        This is exactly what is done.  When someone is in distress it’s critical to have all of the necessary units ready and close.  When someone isn’t in distress these units cannot quickly get to someone else who really is.  Especially during the summer many victims in distress have had the needed response significantly delayed or even absent because someone called simply due to seeing a person enjoying the water.A very large portion of these calls are called in by someone who literally just saw someone in/near the water. A lot of people think that no one can be recreational in the water.  Sooo many “oh I didn’t realize people could be using the water at all calls.”it’s very sad when we cannot help someone because of calls like that. There was one recently off Shilshole marina  Thanks for the attack Reed.  It was funny and I’m sure that was the intention. Please everyone do call when you think someone’s in distress, do not call just because someone is enjoying the water. 

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