Washington State Ferry diverts to rescue windsurfer

The rescue craft heading out to the windsurfer, also visible in the photo.

I was heading back from Bremerton to Seattle on the Washington State Ferry yesterday when I noticed we made an abrupt course change out in the middle of Puget Sound. Instead of heading in towards Elliot Bay, we were suddenly heading towards the point just south of Alki Beach. It took more than a few minutes before the captain announced that the a body had been spotted in the water and we were being divert to go look. We headed toward the point, then stopped a quarter mile or so off of Alki Beach while everyone looked around. After five minutes we then headed northwest (further off shore) and again came to stop. At that point several passengers spotted something in the water… you can read another account here. Apparently this windsurfer had a cell phone and was in communication, but it’s not clear whether he made the original call for help or not.

The windsurfer was standing on the car deck with his wetsuit and board as I drove off. He looked in good shape, but I assume he ended up further offshore than intended. As far out as he was, with the wind blowing to the north, I would have to imagine it would have been difficult to get back.

Update: The Seattle Times clarifies that it was the windsurfer who made the original call for help. The problem was that his mast broke!