A whale-watching vessel that struck a rock and took on water during an excursion in U.S. waters was towed to Sidney on Friday to be assessed and repaired.

The Eagle Wing Tours vessel 4Ever Wild struck a submerged rock near Smith Island in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca Thursday.

The captain of the 18-metre catamaran beached the vessel on the island to prevent it from sinking, and the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard responded to the incident.

Forty-three passengers and six crew members were transferred to three rescue boats and returned back to Victoria with no injuries reported.

“They did a great job. The crew responded with absolute professionalism and even with a little bit of humour, and it kept everybody calm,” said passenger Ted Harris-Means, a resident of Spokane, Wash.

Eagle Wing said salvage and recovery crews were dispatched to the damaged boat Thursday night with marine authorities.

After conducting environmental and safety assessments, they determined it was safe to tow back to Sidney.

Eagle Wing said it would operate on a reduced schedule Friday morning as a result.