Mark Langmas wasn’t expecting to be a hero when he threw the lines on his 24-foot Bayliner on Labor Day and headed for Des Moines, Washington. The water was flat calm when he left the dock in Everett at 8 a.m., but he was soon in 8- to 10-foot waves, the roughest conditions he had ever experienced in a lifetime of boating.
Langmas decided to head for a marina in Edmonds Beach and wait out the weather, but as he approached, he noticed some debris floating in the water, including boat cushions and overturned ice chests. Then, suddenly, he noticed five people in life jackets floating in the water in front of his boat. Had he been 100 yards away in either direction, he would have missed them entirely, but it seemed fate was in their favor on this day.
Langmas immediately dialed 911 and got on the VHF radio while attempting to maneuver his boat towards the people and throw them a line, all while his boat bounced up and down in the steep chop. The wind continually blew his rope off target, but he managed to get it to one victim and haul her into his boat.
Soon enough, first responders were on the beach, emergency vehicles arrived on the scene, and a fire rescue boat was deployed. Fortunately, the Washington State ferry had been nearby, and her crew lowered their inflatable rescue boat to assist in the rescue. Once all passengers were pulled out of the water, Langmas followed the first responders back to the marina. His first priority upon returning home was purchasing throwable life preservers on ropes in case he ever found himself in a similar situation.