Coast Guard Responses Mid-Atlantic April 2007

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Recent responses from around the nation

Recent responses from around the nation

Teen boater lost

Air Facility Charleston, S.C.

A Coast Guard helicopter located an 18-year-old boater who was lost and disoriented on a 17-foot boat on Bull Creek, in the vicinity of Bucksport, S.C. The 18-year-old called his sister in the evening to let her know he would need a ride from Enterprise Landing. When the young man didn’t show up and couldn’t be reached on his cell phone, his sister called the Coast Guard. Coast Guard and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources units searched throughout the night. A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Facility Charleston, a Coast Guard boat crew from Station Georgetown, S.C., and a South Carolina DNR boat all participated in the search. The young man contacted Coast Guard rescue coordinators at Sector Charleston and told rescue coordinators that he was lost in an area of dense forest and couldn’t provide any more details on his location. Coast Guard rescue coordinators launched the helicopter crew from Air Facility Charleston to use direction-finding equipment to locate the boater though the signal from his VHF radio. The Coast Guard helicopter crew located the missing boater and stayed with him until the Horry County Marine Rescue unit could come to the young man’s aid. He was taken by Horry County Marine Rescue to meet his parent at Waccawache Landing in GeorgetownCounty. (Jan. 7)

Missing boater

Air Station Atlantic City, N.J.

Coast Guard crews have ended their search for a boater who was reported missing two days earlier. The 56-year-old man was reported as missing to the Coast Guard, which immediately began transmitting urgent marine information broadcasts, alerting nearby boaters that crews were searching for the man. He was reportedly under way from Ocean City, N.J., alone aboard his 24-foot pleasure boat. An HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter crew was then dispatched from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City. Shortly thereafter, an HC-130 Hercules long-range aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., joined the search. The aircraft searched offshore until Monday evening, completing nine sorties and searching an area of 22,544 square nautical miles. Tuesday morning, units throughout the 5th Coast Guard District began conducting extended communications, which involves the physical survey of frequently used marinas and wharfs, to look for signs of the man or his boat. In addition, UMIBs continued to alert the boating public of the ongoing search. Additionally, Tuesday morning, an Air Station Atlantic City helicopter crew searched inland areas that were described as the man’s possible destinations for his fishing trip. One more search of the back bay areas south of OceanCity was conducted before nightfall, bringing aircraft mission time to a total of nearly 24 hours. (Jan. 16)

Dead whale calf

Station Mayport, Fla.

The Coast Guard towed a dead right whale calf to officials with NOAA Fisheries and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at the boat ramp in Mayport, Fla. The right whale calf was located off Jacksonville Beach, Fla., by a commercial fishing boat. At first, the crew of the 25-foot Coast Guard boat couldn’t reach the whale because it was in water that was too shallow for the boat to navigate. A team from FWC launched a small zodiac from the beach to secure a towing line around the caudal stem of the whale and passed the line to Coast Guard crews. The Coast Guard towed the whale about eight miles to the Mayport boat ramp. The whale was being transported to the University of Florida for a necropsy to determine the cause of its death. The northern right whale, one of the rarest and most endangered species of whale, is protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. With an estimated 300 to 350 northern right whales left, this species is dangerously close to extinction. Recreational waterway users and beach-goers are also encouraged to report any whale sightings or accidental collisions with a whale to the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 or by telephone at (888) 979-4253 for Florida residents or (305) 862-2850 for Georgia and South Carolina residents. (Jan. 25)

Drifting houseboat

Station Ketchikan, Alaska

Coast Guard Station Ketchikan deployed a 47-foot motor life boat crew to retrieve a drifting houseboat from the TongassNarrows. After dewatering 1,200 gallons of water the boat was returned to its mooring. This is one of many vessels adrift that the Coast Guard has responded to due to recent wind storms throughout Alaska. This situation is often the result of inadequate or infrequently inspected mooring procedures. Mariners are strongly encouraged to double up and double- check lines when severe weather conditions exist. (Dec. 28)