Recent responses from around the nation
Samaritan rescues fisherman
Brown’s Reef, Conn.
A fisherman was rescued by a good Samaritan after spending more than two hours in frigid waters and drifting two miles to Brown’s Reef, Conn., following his boat’s capsize. The man was fishing while anchored in the vicinity of Branford Reef in his 17-foot pleasure boat when heavy seas filled and overturned his boat and tossed him into 61-degree water.He was able to put on his life jacket before drifting from his overturned boat. The owner and operator of a charter boat and a volunteer who teaches boating safety classes for the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection spotted the man drifting near Brown’s Reef about two miles from where he entered the water. The charter boat operator tossed a line with a fender attached and pulled the man alongside and on board the charter boat. The captain provided him with dry clothing and took him into Branford where he was met by local EMS. (Oct. 19)
Unmanned and adrift
Station South Portland, Maine
The Coast Guard suspended the search for a 55-year-old man whose 23-foot boat was found unmanned and adrift east of Cape Elizabeth. Upon discovery of his boat, several search resources immediately began retracing the man’s possible routes. He was reportedly last seen the night before leaving the port of Portland. Roughly 50 hours were spent searching over 760 square miles of water and coastline. Coast Guard resources included Station South Portland, Aids to Navigation Team South Portland, Air Station Cape Cod, 110-foot cutter Grand Isle, and 175-foot cutter Marcus Hanna. The Coast Guard was also greatly assisted by the Maine Marine Patrol, Cape Elizabeth WET Team, the Portland Harbor Master, the Falmouth Harbor Master, Sea Tow and several other good Samaritans. Maine Marine Patrol was continuing the search. (Oct. 11)
Kitesurfer in distress
Station Point Judith, R.I.
A Providence man was pulled from the water after falling off his surfboard while kitesurfing near Matunuck, R.I. The man was kitesurfing around one mile from Point Judith, when he fell off his surfboard and was unable to get back onto the board. A 911 call was made to Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England from an onlooker onshore. Coast Guard Station Point Judith dispatched a 47-foot motor lifeboat to the scene. The motor lifeboat arrived and pulled the man from the water. He appeared to have suffered no injuries, but was transferred to EMS. The man was wearing a wetsuit but he was not wearing a life jacket at the time of the rescue. The quick response from the onlooker prompted a timely rescue, ultimately resulting in no apparent injuries to the kitesurfer. (Oct. 1)
Boat strikes seawall
Station Charleston, S.C.
Two people were injured after their 23-foot pleasure boat struck the seawall near Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston. A 53-year-old passenger was seriously injured and the other 43-year-old boater suffered minor injuries. Both were transferred to EMS by crews from Coast Guard Station Charleston and the Charleston County Marine Patrol. The two struck the 300-yard long seawall at about 9 p.m. An off-duty Coast Guardsman witnessed the accident and called 911. The wall is marked by a lighted navigational buoy visible when approaching the seawall and one flashing green navigational light at the end of the seawall. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was investigating the accident. The Coast Guard recommends boaters, no matter how experienced, not deviate from marked navigational channels. Obstructions on the waterway and shallow water outside of the navigational channel may not be visible, especially when navigating at night. More than 40 people died in 2005 in 497 separate boating accidents throughout the U.S. after colliding with fixed objects. Collisions with fixed objects is the third most common boating accident in the United States, and the second most common boating accident in South Carolina. (Sept. 24)
Station Sandy Hook, N.J.
The Coast Guard responded to a pleasure boat beached 100 yards south of the Tottenville Marina after the boat collided with a piling. All eight people aboard made it to shore safely after the master intentionally beached the boat. The boat began taking on water after the collision and the crew immediately notified the Coast Guard. A rescue crew from Station Sandy Hook and investigators from Sector New York were dispatched. Local fire and police departments also responded. The boat was partially submerged and a small sheen was reported near the boat, which had around 120 gallons of fuel aboard. The accident was under investigation. (Sept. 29)
Station Tybee, S.C.
One person was hospitalized and another suffered minor injuries following an explosion on a 34-foot pleasure boat after the owner finished fueling his boat and started his engine at a Hilton Head Harbor marina. One bystander was hospitalized, and the boat’s owner suffered minor injuries. Coast Guard Station Tybee immediately dispatched a 41-foot boat to assist the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and Department of Natural Resources following the explosion and fire. The burning boat was towed by a good Samaritan away from the burning dock and outside the navigational channel. The dock and gas pump sustained substantial damage, and a repair timeline has not been established. A light-fuel sheen was observed immediately following the explosion. The sheen has since dissipated. Coast Guard investigators confirmed no additional fuel was leaking from the burned gas line, and the gas tank had been secured. The exact cause of the fire was unknown and was being investigated by the Bluffton Fire Department and the Coast Guard. (Oct. 8)