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Mishaps & Rescues – Florida

Recent responses from the South

HARD RIGHT – Crewmembers of Coast Guard Station Port Aransas, Texas, conduct training on the station's new 45-foot response boat Jan. 27. The RB-M, which will eventually replace the Coast Guard's aging fleet of 41-foot utility boats, is a self-righting, 45-foot aluminum boat with twin diesel engines and water jet propulsion. It includes multiple navigation displays, a wireless crew communication system, an infrared camera, shock mitigating seating and air conditioning. The RB-M also provides additional safety for the crew.

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Missing oyster barge located

Bay St. Louis, La.

The Coast Guard has located two missing boaters. The Coast Guard began the search after being contacted by the wife of one of the men. She stated that the two men from Buras, La., in their 24-foot oyster barge, were overdue to return to Bay St. Louis. The man was able to contact his wife by cell phone with their location and stated that the barge had become disabled, but that they were safe and making their way toward Bay St. Louis. The wife notified the Coast Guard with the location of the men. An HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter crew located the men near Pass Christian, and confirmed their location and status. (Dec. 30)

Rescued from disabled 22-footer

Station St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Coast Guard rescued two missing boaters about 14 miles west of Egmont Key, Fla. A Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg 41-foot motor lifeboat rescue crew found the two men and their 22-foot disabled fishing boat, and took them to a marina in St. Petersburg. A family member reported the two men overdue to Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg search-and-rescue coordinators after they had failed to return from their fishing trip. Assisting in the search were HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing and HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, a 41-foot utility boat and 25-foot response boat crews from Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg, a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Sand Key, Coast Guard Cutter Hawk, marine units from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies. (Jan. 7)

Six anglers in the water

Station Little Creek, Va.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received a mayday call involving a capsized fishing boat near Lynnhaven Inlet, Va. Using information gathered from several Rescue 21 towers, Coast Guard rescue coordinators were able to pinpoint the boat’s position and dispatch a rescue crew from Station Little Creek. An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast was issued. A nearby Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City (N.C.) helicopter heard the mayday radio conversation and was diverted to assist. Rescue crews encountered 10-knot winds and 3- to 5-foot seas at the scene. The helicopter’s co-pilot spotted the capsized pleasure boat and the people in the water. The crew then prepared to deploy a rescue swimmer who assisted in hoisting two people into the helicopter and transferring the remaining four people to the rescue boats. After confirming all of the people in the water had been recovered, the helicopter crew transferred the two passengers to a nearby hospital. EMS crews met the rescue boats at a nearby Virginia Pilot Association Station and transported the boaters to local hospitals for treatment. Two of the six anglers were unresponsive to medical treatment and were in the care of local EMS. The other four were treated for hypothermia at local hospitals. (Jan. 14)

This article originally appeared in the April 2009 issue.