Recent responses from New England and around the nation
Recent responses from New England and around the nation
Mariners in life raft
Station Southwest Harbor, Maine
A Coast Guard Station Southwest Harbor boat crew rescued two fishermen from a life raft after their boat sank in Frenchman’s Bay, Maine, near Egg Rock. The boat’s master was detained after failing drug and alcohol tests. An EPIRB transmitted a distress signal from the fishing boat to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard contacted the boat’s owner, who indicated the boat was moored. After the EPIRB continued to signal, the Coast Guard determined the boat was actually under way. Coast Guard Sector Northern New England issued an urgent marine information broadcast alerting boaters of a possible boat in distress as Coast Guard Station Southwest Harbor launched a 47-foot motor life boat and Air Station Cape Cod launched an HU-25 Falcon Jet. The boat crew arrived on scene as the fishing boat sank and found two strobe lights from the floating EPIRBs. The boat crew then rescued the two men, both in their survivals suits, from a life raft. The survivors and equipment were transported to StationSouthwestHarbor. Both men were evaluated by emergency medical personnel and did not require further medical care. Alcohol and drug tests were administered by Maine Marine Patrol officers at the Bar Harbor Police Department. The boat’s operator failed both tests and had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit of .04 for commercial vessel operators. He was arrested by the Maine Marine Patrol. (March 28)
Missing from sailboat
Station New Haven, Conn.
The Coast Guard suspended the search for a man missing in Long Island Sound near Milford Point after an exhaustive search of the area involving 10 boats and helicopters from numerous agencies. Suffolk County Police Department Marine and Aviation Bureaus, Connecticut State Police, Connecticut State Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Conservation Police, Bridgeport Police Department, Milford Police Department, Coast Guard Station New Haven and Air Stations Atlantic City and Cape Cod were involved in the search. A 52-year-old man disappeared from a 20-foot sailboat about two miles from shore. Greene was the second boater to disappear in this area within a 24-hour period. Two passengers, a man and woman, aboard the sailboat with the missing man awoke from a two-hour nap and found him missing, prompting the multiagency search. The man and woman told investigators that the missing man wasn’t wearing a life jacket. The search was suspended based on weather conditions, water temperature, the age and size of the victim, the lack of a life jacket, and the extent of the search. The incident was under investigation. (March 29)
Rescue in big seas
Station Fire Island, N.Y.
A Coast Guard rescue crew had a sailboat with two people aboard in safe tow near Fire Island following a rescue in 10-foot seas and 25-knot winds. The 47-foot motor lifeboat rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Fire Island, a rescue helicopter crew from Cape Cod, and Suffolk County Police boat and helicopter crews responded immediately following relayed mayday calls from a barge operator stating that a sailboat was in distress near Fire Island. An initial search of the area by the helicopter rescue crew did not locate the boat in distress. A third distress call was received by Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound and the helicopter was able to locate the distressed sailboat. A Coast Guard rescue swimmer was lowered from the helicopter to check on the condition of the people on board and confirm they placed the distress call. One of the people on board sustained an arm injury caused possibly by a heavy roll in the 10-foot seas. A Coast Guardsman from the Fire Island 47-foot rescue boat was on board the sailboat to assist with the tow and monitor the condition of the crew. The sailboat sustained some damage but was in safe seaworthy condition. (April 13)
Three aboard sinking vessel
Miami Beach, Fla.
A boat crew from Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale rescued three people from a 93-foot catamaran after the boat began sinking a half-mile off HollywoodBeach. The crewmembers were unable to deploy the boat’s life raft and were clinging to the bow as the Coast Guard assets arrived. The three people were transferred off the boat safely. The catamaran sank in 23 feet of water. The Coast Guard has issued a Broadcast Notice to Mariners reporting the submerged boat’s location. There is currently 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel contained with the catamaran and minimal sheen has been observed by Coast Guard inspectors. The Coast Guard was monitoring the owner’s salvage and pollution efforts. The boat’s owner has hired Sea Tow as salvage contractor and had scheduled salvage efforts for when appropriate salvage equipment will become available. Commercial salvage divers dove the vessel area and have not found any indication of further contamination. The cause of the sinking was not known. (March 26)
Battered by weather
Station Cape Charles, Va.
A Coast Guard crew from Station Cape Charles, Va., rescued two people from a sailboat beset by heavy weather about one mile off the coast of the Virginia eastern shore. The crew of the sailboat notified the Coast Guard that they were in rough weather and were suffering from pain, possibly hypothermia. StationCapeCharles crewmen arrived on scene aboard a 25-foot rescue boat and transferred the two sailors and returned them to shore where medical personnel were standing by. Salvage crews were en route to the adrift sailboat to tow it back to shore. (April 7)
Boat strikes seawall
Station Miami Beach, Fla.
Coast Guard crews responded to an incident in which a 35-foot pleasure boat collided with the seawall at Miami Beach Marina. A watchstander at Coast Guard Station Miami Beach received a call over VHF channel 16 from a passenger aboard the boat, stating that five people on board had sustained injuries. Two boats from Coast Guard Station Miami Beach, along with personnel from Miami Beach Fire Rescue and Miami Dade Fire Rescue, were immediately dispatched to the incident site. Three of the injured boaters were brought to Station Miami Beach and transferred to local EMS. The other two boaters were taken aboard the second Coast Guard rescue boat and transported to Station Miami Beach where they were transferred to awaiting EMS. The Coast Guard says that boaters planning to purchase a VHF radio should consider buying a model that has Digital Selective Calling, or DSC, which when activated automatically broadcasts an encoded distress call that can be picked up by response agencies as well as nearby vessels equipped with a DSC capable radio. (April 8)
Three in life raft
Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
The Coast Guard was bringing three men to Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral who were spotted 60 miles off the coast in a life raft. The three men — ages 30, 92 and 60 — left together on a 40-foot sailboat from Port Canaveral en route to the Bahamas. The three men were reported missing when a friend didn’t hear from the men as scheduled. The Coast Guard launched an HU-25 falcon jet from Air Station Miami and a C-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircraft from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., to search for the missing men. The C-130 spotted the men in a life raft shooting flares and using a strobe to signal the aircraft. The Coast Guard requested assistance from a nearby good Samaritan who picked up the three men. An HH-60 helicopter from Air Station Clearwater launched to retrieve the men and bring them back to Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral to awaiting EMS. (April 8)
Fatal fishing excursion
Station Georgetown, S.C.
The Coast Guard suspended the search for a missing boater in the vicinity of Winyah Bay, S.C. The search for the 38-year-old man began the day before after a fellow fisherman who was aboard the 16-foot boat was picked up by Georgetown Pilots. The two were pulling up their fishing nets when their boat apparently overturned. The Coast Guard, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office and Winyah Bay Marine Rescue all participated in the search with various surface and air assets. The Coast Guard assets involved searched a combined 45 hours and covered an approximately 142-square-nautical-mile search area. Coast Guard rescue coordinators only suspend a search after rescue crews have conducted a thorough search of the area where the person was missing and after all possibilities of survival have been exhausted. Coast Guard rescue crews from Station Georgetown, Air Station Savannah, Ga., and Air Facility Charleston all assisted in the search. (April 10)
Two aboard capsized cat
Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater rescue helicopter crew hoisted two people from a capsized catamaran about 175 miles southwest of Tampa. The 60-year-old man and his 58-year-old wife were sailing from Isla Mujeres, Mexico, to Anclote, Fla., when their 35-foot catamaran hit a squall and capsized. Salt water activated the EPIRB on board the sailboat, giving its location. The Coast Guard’s 7th DistrictCommandCenter in Miami received the signal and launched an Air Station Clearwater C-130 search plane to locate the distressed boaters. The search plane found the capsized catamaran and flew overhead until the rescue helicopter could get on scene to hoist the couple. The helicopter arrived safely at Air Station Clearwater. No injuries were reported and the couple refused treatment. (April 12)