Recent responses from the Mid-Atlantic
Coast Guard crew from Station Chincoteague demonstrates the capabilities of the 24-foot Special Purpose Craft - Shallow Water - in the Elizabeth River near Portsmouth, Va. The SPC-SW, intended to operate in areas that other response boats cannot reach, will enhance capabilities for search and rescue, law enforcement and Homeland Security missions.
Disabled yacht off Cape May
Cape May, N.J.
The Coast Guard rescued six people aboard a disabled 55-foot boat 50 miles off the coast of Cape May. The Coast Guard received a call from a crewmember reporting they were having engine trouble and needed assistance. The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Legare towed the boat and crew to Delaware Bay. (Nov. 15)
4-year-old hoisted to safety
Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C.
A Coast Guard helicopter crew hoisted four adults and one 4-year-old girl to safety 175 nautical miles west-northwest of Bermuda after their sailboat was disabled. The 47-foot sailboat lost steering and propulsion while transiting to St. Thomas from Annapolis, Md. They contacted the Coast Guard by satellite phone requesting assistance. An HC-130J Hercules aircraft crew from Elizabeth City, N.C., marked the position of the sailboat and directed the Elizabeth City MH-60J Jayhawk helicopter to the site. The five people were hoisted to safety and taken to Bermuda. Winds during the hoist were more than 30 knots and seas were 15 feet. (Nov. 17)
C.G. transports injured boater
Station Elizabeth City, N.C.
A Coast Guard rescue boat crew from Station Elizabeth City, N.C., transferred an injured boater from the North River along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina were contacted by Currituck County 911, reporting that a 63-year-old man was unable to operate his boat after suffering an injury to his hand. The Elizabeth City crew trailered the station’s 21-foot rescue boat to Coinjock Cut where they launched and proceeded to the man’s location. Upon arriving, the Elizabeth City crewmembers transferred the injured man to their boat and transported him to awaiting EMS personnel at Coinjock Cut for treatment. (Nov. 21)
Two rescued from water
Station Barnegat Light, N.J.
The Coast Guard and a good Samaritan rescued two people aboard a 36-foot pleasure boat six miles off the coast. The Coast Guard received a call from a crewmember aboard the pleasure boat reporting they were taking on water. The crew of the good Samaritan’s vessel arrived and rescued the two people from the water and transferred them to a rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light, N.J. The rescue boat crew transported the two people back to Station Barnegat to awaiting emergency medical personnel. (Nov. 10)
Station Cape May, N.J.
The Coast Guard rescued four people aboard a disabled 20-foot pleasure boat off the coast near Egg Island Point. The Coast Guard received a call from a crewmember aboard the boat stating that it was disabled and they needed assistance. A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Cape May, N.J., towed the boat and crew to a marina in Fortescue. (Nov. 11)
C.G. jet, Navy ship respond
Station Portsmouth, Va.
The Coast Guard and Navy assisted a disabled boat 155 miles east of Wachapreague, Va., with one person aboard. Coast Guard watchstanders received a signal from an EPIRB and an
e-mail from the crew of a motor tanker that was in the area. The motor tanker received a distress call from the operator of the disabled vessel, who was reporting a steering casualty. The Coast Guard diverted a cutter and a Falcon jet from Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., to assist. The crew of USS Gonzalez also heard the mayday call and diverted to the scene, providing provisions as well as a repair-and-maintenance team to try to fix the steering. The Coast Guard jet returned to the air station after the Navy arrived. USS Gonzalez remained on scene until the arrival of the cutter. (Nov. 11)
Clinging to bow
Station Sandy Hook, N.J.
Three people were rescued in Sandy Hook Channel, N.J., after their boat was found submerged. The mariners were found clinging to the bow by a 25-foot response boat crew from Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook. They were taken to waiting EMS at Station Sandy Hook where they were treated for cold exposure and released. All three were listed in good condition. None of the mariners was wearing a life jacket. The boat apparently was swamped by a large wave, causing the stern to sink. Sea Tow was preparing to salvage the partially sunken boat. There were no reports of pollution. There reportedly were 4- to 5-foot seas and 5- to 10-mph winds at the time of the incident. (Nov. 2)
Two abandon 46-footer
Station Georgetown, S.C.
Two people were safe after their 46-foot sportfisherman sank north of the entrance of Winyah Bay, S.C. The two men were aboard when they radioed for help and abandoned the boat in a Zodiac inflatable boat. A nearby good Samaritan responded to an urgent marine information broadcast and rescued the two men shortly thereafter. The men were transferred to a Coast Guard rescue boat from Station Georgetown, S.C., in good condition. Coast Guard rescue crews observed a diesel fuel sheen at the entrance of Winyah Bay. Coast Guard pollution responders were working with the boat’s owner to secure and salvage the sportfisherman. Coast Guard Sector Charleston, S.C., dispatched pollution investigators from Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Charleston to make further assessments. The owner of the boat reported that the sportfisherman had about 500 gallons of diesel fuel aboard when it sank. The Coast Guard was to keep flying over the area to monitor the pollution sheen. Coast Guard response coordinators had not received any reports of wildlife or additional environmental impact. Boaters planning to transit the area should monitor VHF channel 16 for up-to-date marine broadcasts. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources assisted in the response and will be leading the recreational boating accident investigation. (Nov. 3)
Sinking sailboat south of N.J.
Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C.
Coast Guard rescue crews from six different units — including three cutters and three air stations — responded to a sinking sailboat with three people on board about 102 miles southeast of Atlantic City, N.J. Two crewmembers were saved, while one person was recovered, but pronounced dead by the Atlantic County Medical Examiner Office. The Coast Guard began its search after watchstanders at the Rescue Coordination Center in Portsmouth, Va., received an EPIRB alert and determined its location aboard a 44-foot sailboat. The Coast Guard launched a C-130J and MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. The Elizabeth City rescue crews were unable to hoist the three passengers from the sailboat because of the rain, 40- to 50-knot winds and 40- to 50-foot seas. The rescue crew determined that in order to conduct a safe hoist, the passengers and the rescue swimmer had to enter the water. The rescue swimmer and one of the sailors entered the water to attempt the hoist, but the rescue basket and hoist cable were damaged by a large wave. The helicopter crew deployed a life raft and the sailor was placed in it. Another large wave injured the rescue swimmer and tossed him from the life raft. The injured rescue swimmer was unable to recover the man. The helicopter crew employed an emergency recovery device to recover the rescue swimmer. This manual recovery device is only used during the most extreme circumstances and the person being hoisted must be trained and wear a rescue strop. Without the means to recover the sailor, the helicopter crew called for assistance and departed for Atlantic City to seek treatment for the injured rescue swimmer. The Coast Guard then launched two MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crews from Air Station Atlantic City along with a HU-25 Falcon jet and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod, Mass. Coast Guard Cutters Northland and Seneca, along with 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Mako, were also dispatched. The Atlantic City helicopter crews were able to relocate the stricken sailboat’s crew and relay the position to the incoming Cape Cod rescue crews. Upon arriving, the Cape Cod helicopter crew recovered the sailor from the water and flew him to Atlantic City, where he was pronounced dead by the Atlantic County Medical Examiner. A second MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew hoisted the two other sailors from the sailboat and flew them to Air Station Atlantic City where they were turned over to local EMS crews and taken for treatment. Both of the recovered sailors suffered from mild hypothermia but were in good condition. This case was under investigation by the Coast Guard. (Oct. 29)
This report originally appeared in the February 2009 issue.