Survivor From Lost Fishing Boat Saved After Coast Guard Ended Search

A survivor from the fishing vessel Evening was found in a life raft off Vancouver Island on Thursday, 11 days after the boat was due to return to port (USCG)

Published Oct 27, 2023 12:21 AM by The Maritime Executive

This week, the U.S. Coast Guard ended searches for two commercial fishing vessels that each disappeared without a trace, one in Washington and another in Georgia. The Washington case ended in a miracle: a crewmember was found alive after formal search efforts had ended.

Missing off the Olympic Peninsula

On Tuesday, Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor announced that it had launched a search for a 43-foot commercial fishing vessel, the Evening, which was nine days overdue. The boat had left the small port on Washington's Olympic Peninsula on October 12 and had planned to return on the 15th. The daughter of one of the crewmembers notified the Coast Guard that the Evening had not returned. 

This was all the information that Station Grays Harbor had, a spokesman told the local Daily World - and that meant that there would have to be a wide-area search. Over the span of the next eight hours, Coast Guard aircrews searched over 14,000 square miles, but did not turn up signs of survivors. The Coast Guard called off the search on Wednesday and expressed condolences to the family. 

Miraculously, one crewmember of the Evening survived and was found by a good samaritan vessel on Thursday morning - a day after the formal search ended. He was floating in a life raft off the west coast of Vancouver Island, near Tofino. The Canadian Coast Guard brought him to shore, and he is reported to be in stable condition, according to Coast Guard Pacific Northwest. 

The whereabouts of the other crewmember are not known. 

Gone without a trace off Georgia

On Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard suspended a search for a commercial fishing vessel that had gone missing with three crewmembers off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia. 

On October 18, Sector Charleston received a call from the owner of the small fishing vessel Carol Anne. He had hired a three-man crew to fish in an area about 80 miles off the coast, and they had departed October 14 and never returned. Their last communication with shore was on the day of their departure. 

Over the course of seven days, the Coast Guard searched an area of about 94,000 square miles off the southeastern U.S. without finding a sign of the Carol Anne. A good samaritan reported spotting flares at night on Saturday, but the Coast Guard believes that this was a SpaceX rocket launch out of Cape Canaveral, according to Brunswick News.

"Despite the unwavering dedication of our crews, regrettably, we have not been able to uncover any traces of the vessel and have made the difficult decision to suspend the search for three beloved family members,” said Capt. Frank DelRosso, commander, Coast Guard Sector Charleston. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our partner agencies and the countless volunteers who have lent their assistance in this arduous search."

The families of the missing crewmembers of the Carol Anne have set up a GoFundMe page to pay for an extended search, and have raised $20,000 as of Thursday.