Seattle-Bremerton ferry rescues woman overboard on the last day of retiring captain

   November 29, 2021 ,   Accidents

Captain Tom Tilton (an employee of Washington State Ferries) received a "man overboard" call as he piloted the ferryboat Chimacum operating a crossing from Bremerton WA to Seattle WA.

Tilton's final watch after 25 years was on Thanksgiving night. 

A woman had gone overboard at ~5 pm as the vessel approached Duwamish Head. The 68-year-old Captain ordered the boat to stop and headed for the Wheelhouse on the other end. 

A crew tossed a lighted life ring into the water as the ferry reversed course. The retiring Captain and others spotted the woman in the water off the side which was closest to the shoreline. Crew hopped in an inflatable rescue boat and pulled the lady out of choppy waters. Tilton said she was taken to an awaiting ambulance at the terminal and was expected to survive.  

Port of Bremerton WA (Washington)

Tilton gave credit to the crew members, calling the rescue (one of a handful he'd been involved in over his career) a "textbook" response.

Because the ship has been sailing on one-boat service because of staffing shortages, Captain Tilton said it had been "overcrewed," which turned out to be fortunate for the rescue operation. 

Ferries officials have not revealed whether the woman's fall to the water had been accidental or purposeful.