Skip to main content

LISTEN IN: Mayday! Mayday!

The Coast Guard rescued four people from a life raft after their fishing vessel sank Sept. 20 more than 30 miles south of Alaska’s Resurrection Bay.

A crewman contacted Sector Anchorage at 9:10 p.m. stating that their 110-foot fishing vessel, the Moonlight Maid, built of wood in 1942, was taking on water with four people aboard.

"The crew reported that the vessel was sinking and they were donning survival suits and entering their life raft," the Coast Guard says.

Coast Guard crews in Alaska had the busiest search-and-rescue week of the summer in mid-September, rescuing 14 people and a dog in four incidents in one week.

A helicopter out of Kodiak located the raft at 10:51 p.m., safely hoisted the fishermen and took them to Seward. Reported weather conditions at the time the vessel sank included winds of 20 to 30 mph and 13-foot seas.

Click play to hear the mayday call.

Here are excerpts from the mayday call:

MM: Mayday, mayday. This is the fishing vessel Moonlight Maid.

CG: Coast Guard Sector Anchorage.

MM: Yeah, we’re taking on water.

CG: Roger, taking on water. How many people do you have on board, and are they all adults?

MM: We have four people on board. All adults.

CG: Moonlight Maid, are you able to keep up with the flooding?

MM: Yeah, we are trying. I thought I’d call first. And we’re just standing by here, getting everything ready in case we do have to abandon ship.

CG: Do you have a raft on board?

MM: Yes. We’re getting everything ready.

CG: How much water have you taken on at this time?

MM: Stand by. Oh, we just lost our generator. We were trying to keep this thing up, and I think we broke a plank or something.


MM: U.S. Coast Guard, this is Moonlight Maid. We just lost our generator. We’re a dark boat now, and we are now getting ready to deploy a life raft.

CG: Roger. I advise you to all don your personal flotation devices at this time and give me the ID number for your EPIRB.

MM: Oh, man. Let me get it out. Hold on.

CG: If you do not have time to get it, that’s OK.

MM: Yeah, roger, roger. We have it in hand. We’re just a dark boat now. Found the flashlights here. Everybody’s getting into their survival suits right now.

CG: If you do abandon ship, let us know right before you depart. And captain, do you have a portable VHF radio on hand or a cellphone with service?

MM: Negative on the service, and we have a VHF, most likely charged, and we will have it with us if we have to abandon ship.

CG: Can I have the make and the type of vessel?

MM: 110-foot ex-Navy sub chaser. Coast Guard, I’m going to be leaving the radio for a bit.

CG: Pan-pan, pan-pan, pan-pan, all stations. This is Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. The United States Coast Guard has received a distress call from the vessel Moonlight Maid taking on water [gives location]. All vessels are requested to keep a sharp lookout, provide assistance if possible and report all sightings to the United States Coast Guard.

CG: Moonlight Maid, can you provide your status at this time?

MM: Yeah, I just tried to reach you on the VHF, my handheld. I ran back up here in the wheelhouse. We are abandoning ship.

CG: Roger, Moonlight Maid.

MM: We will be switching on our EPIRB as soon as we are away from the boat. Over and out.

CG: Moonlight Maid, roger. Good job.