Boater rescued on Martha Lake

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A man who fell out of his boat in the middle of Martha Lake in Lynnwood while trying to land a fish this morning was rescued by firefighters and a competitive swimmer who was training nearby.

A witness on shore called 911 around 9:45 a.m. to report the fisherman was in the water and hanging onto the side of his 10-foot boat about 70 feet from the dock at Martha Lake County Park.

“The fisherman became tangled in the anchor line and fell overboard,” said Leslie Hynes, public information officer for Snohomish County Fire District 1. “A citizen, who was swimming in the lake to train for a competition, came to the boater’s aid. The citizen swam to the boat and was able to untangle the line from the fisherman’s feet, but he couldn’t get the man up into the boat. The swimmer climbed aboard and started rowing to shore with the fisherman clinging to the side of the boat.”

A Fire District 7 engine with two rescue swimmers on board was in the area just clearing the scene of another call when they heard the call at Martha Lake being dispatched. They responded to assist Fire District 1 crews from Martha Lake Fire Station 21. One Fire District 7 rescue swimmer swam out to the boat and held up the fisherman on the side of the boat as the competitive swimmer rowed to shore.

When they reached land, waiting fire crews evaluated the fisherman’s medical condition. The man was in the water about 15 minutes. The man was cold, but uninjured – and the fish he was trying to land was still hooked on the end of his line.

The fisherman was not wearing a lifejacket. “He was fortunate there were people nearby to help him. The swimmer who came to his aid and the witness on shore who called 911 really made a difference,” Hynes said.

“We encourage all boaters, adults and children, to wear a life jacket when boating or around water,” Hynes said.

The U.S Coast Guard estimates that life jackets could have saved the lives of more than 80 percent of boating fatality victims.

Visitors to Martha Lake County Park can borrow a life jacket for free beginning this Friday. Fire District 1 partners with Safe Kids Snohomish County, the Snohomish County Parks Department and Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office to make life jackets available for children and adults to use free of charge when they visit the park during the summer. The life jackets can be checked out from a cabinet near the swimming area at the south end of the lake. Directions on the cabinet explain how to size and fit the life jackets. Life jackets must be returned at the end of each day.

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