Commercial divers quickly rescued a man who fell off his dinghy into the water in Saanichton Bay after they heard a mayday call on Thursday morning.
Adam Coolidge, CEO of Cold Water Divers, was with three other workers installing a mooring in the area at around 10:30 a.m. when they received the mayday call from the Canadian Coast Guard.
According to Coolidge, a construction worker on shore had seen someone in the water in Saanichton Bay. The divers were only half a nautical mile away and found the location of the call in under a minute.
When they arrived, they discovered a man in the water without a life-jacket clinging to a rope dangling off his boat. The boat was at anchor approximately 91 metres (300 feet) from shore in five metre-deep (15 foot deep) water.
Coolidge said they pulled the man out of the water and brought him onto their own 11 metre (35 foot) boat. He was taken to the cabin and the divers turned on the heat while they called an ambulance.
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The North Saanich Fire Department and BC Emergency Health Services had already received the call. The man who was rescued was able to walk over to ambulance crews on shore so they could look him over.
Coolidge said they learned the man had been in the water for 20 minutes before someone saw him. Coolidge added the man stepped from his sailboat onto his dinghy then went overboard.
This is not the first rescue Cold Water Divers has done. Coolidge, who has a military background, said they will often respond to mayday calls because they do work all around the local waters. They have rescued a kayaker and another person whose boat flipped during a winter storm.
“It gets the old adrenaline going,” Coolidge said.
“It is definitely exhilarating.”
This morning we responded to a Mayday about a person in the water. The person was working on his sailboat and fell in…