Fishing boat runs aground at South Salmon Creek Beach

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A commercial fisherman was rescued early Sunday after his 54-foot boat ran aground off South Salmon Creek Beach, a fire official said.

The fisherman, who lives and works aboard his boat, had gone to sleep while the vessel was about 4 miles from shore, expecting it to drift with the offshore current, said Capt. Dave Bynum of the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District.

Instead, the boat drifted toward the shore and was reported by a surfer to have run aground about 2:30 a.m. Firefighters arrived about 10 minutes later in dark and foggy conditions, Bynum said.

The fisherman had attempted to set an anchor in the first line of breakers, but the anchor did not hold and the boat ended up about 10 yards from the beach, Bynum said.

Two rescue swimmers — one from Bodega Bay fire department and the other with California State Parks — donned wetsuits and swam out to the boat, he said.

Nate Buck, a Bodega Bay firefighter and swimmer, boarded the boat and brought the uninjured fisherman ashore.

Buck later went a step further, bringing the fisherman dry clothes from the firefighter’s own home, Bynum said.

The fisherman said he had previously executed the offshore drift safely while he slept, Bynum said. He did not have the fisherman’s name.

The boat remained stuck on the beach Sunday, with the owner awaiting Coast Guard officials who were coming out to assess the potential for environmental damage, such as a fuel spill, Bynum said.

A private contractor will likely be hired to pull the boat free, he said.

The fisherman was fortunate to run aground at the beach, rather than on a rocky stretch of the coast, Bynum noted.

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