Member saves 6 from drowning

A day of fishing could have ended tragically for a small family in eastern Washington this past September if it hadn’t been for Poverty Bay Power Squadron member Josh Webster.

Josh and two friends arrived early and spent most of the morning fishing the lake in Josh’s 16-foot aluminum boat. The wind picked up steadily, and by late morning, it was too dangerous to continue fishing, so they headed back to shore.

Josh asked his friends to drive their car back to the campsite and begin preparing lunch while he loaded the boat. By this time, waves were cresting the dock and the lake was quite rough.

While Josh was loading the boat onto the trailer, a family arrived and began launching a 16-foot boat that looked as if it had been sitting under a tree for a few years.

As Josh watched, the husband, wife and four children scrambled aboard and motored away. The waves hit the boat and splashed inside. Soon, the entire family was standing up to keep from getting wet.

About 100 yards offshore, the boat’s motor died. The man removed the cover. At this point, the family was bailing water. Rather than leave, Josh decided to wait until their motor started.

About 10 to 15 minutes later, two of the boys jumped off the bow to swim ashore. Josh immediately launched his boat and raced to their rescue. When he finally reached the boys, one was holding the other above water.

After bringing them to shore, Josh turned to check on the rest of the family. He could see four people standing in the boat, which was just below the surface.

By the time he reached them, the boat had capsized. The two adults were clinging to a big red cooler, and the two children were sharing a life jacket—the only one on board. With the high wind and waves, Josh couldn’t risk trying to get them into his small boat. He had the two children cling to the sides and gave each adult a life vest. After he got the children ashore, he returned to retrieve the two adults. Although shaken, the family was safe and grateful for his help.

Had Josh not stayed when he saw the potential for disaster, I’m sure some, if not all, of the family would have perished.