Two men were stranded on Snake Island after their small boat was blown away by strong winds Wednesday. (News Bulletin file photo)

Two men were stranded on Snake Island after their small boat was blown away by strong winds Wednesday. (News Bulletin file photo)

Boat blows away, stranding fishermen on Snake Island in the strait near Nanaimo

Marine search and rescue team picked up men on windy afternoon Wednesday

Two men from Nanaimo were rescued from Snake Island after their small boat was carried off by strong winds yesterday.

Volunteers with Nanaimo’s Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station No. 27 were called out at about noon Wednesday, Oct. 21, after they received a report of two men who had become stranded on Snake Island, located in the Strait of Georgia outside Departure Bay.

“They were there for a picnic or a lunch and some fishing and unfortunately their boat got away from them,” said Josh Minami, RCM-SAR No. 27 spokesman. “It was blowing pretty heavy, close to 30 knots. It was quite rough out there and they didn’t have their boat secured well at the beach, so it drifted away from them and they were stranded.”

The men, one in his 40s and the other in his 60s, weren’t injured, but their situation could have turned much worse if they were unable to call for help, say rescuers. Fortunately one of the men was able to contact his wife with his cell phone and she called emergency services.

The men were picked up and back at the marine search and rescue station by about 1:30 p.m.

“They were in good shape. They hadn’t actually been in the water or anything like that,” Minami said. “We did go to try and recover their boat, but it had blown onto Gabriola Island. It was high and dry on the beach, but in a safe place.”

Minami said the men would likely try to retrieve the small, 12-foot, inflatable craft today, Oct. 22.

“There’s not much traffic out there, so if they didn’t have their cell phone on them they might have been seen by a ferry, but they could have had a very cold night out there,” he said.

Anyone who needs needs to report a marine emergency can call for help directly by dialing *16 on their cell phone.

READ ALSO: Man rescued from Nanaimo River estuary after canoe overturns
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