The Coast Guard and other agencies evacuated dozens of people from a whale-watching vessel that went aground on Smith Island, west of Whidbey Island, after taking on water in Puget Sound early Thursday afternoon.

No injuries were reported, Lt. Pierre Spence said. All 45 people aboard the 60-foot vessel were wearing life jackets.

The Coast Guard responded after receiving an initial report around 12:30 p.m. that the vessel was purposely grounded after taking on water.

All passengers were evacuated onto a Coast Guard boat and another Canadian tour boat by 2 p.m., except four crew members who stayed behind to help salvage the boat, Coast Guard spokeswoman Amanda Norcross said.

The catamaran 4 Ever Wild  is operated by Eagle Wing Tours in Victoria, B.C. The company sent two boats to pick up non-crew passengers and take them back to Victoria, Norcross said.

The Coast Guard was being assisted by Washington State Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Spence said.


It wasn’t immediately known why the vessel began taking on water.

Seattle Times reporter Asia Fields contributed to this report.