Coast Guard Sector Northern New England had 17 cases the weekend of Oct. 15 involving unmanned adrift vessels during heavy weather.
It is the Coast Guard's policy to treat every unmanned adrift vessel as a possible person-in-the-water case until it can be determined beyond a reasonable doubt that there wasn't someone aboard.
The only way to conclude these cases is to locate the owner, make a determination based on the facts of the situation that the vessel has been abandoned or suspend operations after an unsuccessful and intense search effort.
The Coast Guard asks mariners to make an extra effort to keep vessel registration up to date and visible on the vessel. Kayaks and canoes should have identifying information as well.
Vessel and crew safe, C.G. ends search
The Coast Guard ended its search for the crew of the 140-foot fishing vessel Retriever after the owner contacted the First Coast Guard District Command Center in Boston and reported the vessel was not in distress.
Reportedly, a large wave came over the side of the vessel and set off the boat's EPRIB. The boat also suffered a loss of generator power, limiting the crew's ability to communicate. The Coast Guard began searching for the vessel and its crew after receiving an alert from the EPIRB. (Nov. 8)
One person found, crews end search
A Maine Marine Patrol crew found an adult male on Gerrish Island during a search in the Piscataqua River. The 65-year-old man was found unresponsive on the northeast tip of the island during the crew's shoreline search.
An HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod transported him to Pease International Tradeport, where they were met by an ambulance crew to be taken a hospital. The man was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The Jayhawk helicopter crew, a 47-foot boat crew from Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor, the Coast Guard cutter Reliance crew, a Coast Guard Auxiliary Air crew, and crews from the New Hampshire and Maine Marine Patrols searched for anyone who may have been with him until the Coast Guard confirmed he was duck hunting alone.
Coast Guard Sector Northern New England launched the search after the crew of the fishing vessel Vickie Ann reported finding a camouflage boot, lifejacket and several duck decoys about one mile east of the Portsmouth Harbor entrance. (Nov. 6)
This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters section of the January 2011 issue.