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Mishaps & Rescues – Mid-Atlantic

Recent responses from Fire Island, N.Y., to Oregon Inlet, N.C.

EXPLOSION ON BOARD — The fishing vessel Beau Vin burns after its captain was rescued Feb. 8 from a life raft by a good Samaritan off Wrightsville Beach, N.C. The man was rescued 20 minutes after making a mayday call to report an explosion on board his 60-foot fishing vessel 20 nautical miles from Masonboro Inlet. The captain of the Beau Vin abandoned ship into his life raft with an EPIRB. The captain of the Sea Swirl responded to a Coast Guard urgent marine information broadcast and came alongside the life raft to pick up Beau Vin’s captain. The captain escaped with only minor burns on his hands, according to the Coast Guard.

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Vessel takes on water

Station Sandy Hook, N.J.

A man was rescued by the Coast Guard after his boat began taking on water in Ambrose Channel. Water began flooding through a broken light fixture on the bow of the 34-foot survey vessel Michele Jeanne and its bilge pumps were unable to keep up. A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook was on scene within 16 minutes after receiving the initial call. The station sent a dewatering pump and two crewmembers to assist the operator of the survey boat. While the Coast Guard dewatered the boat, the cutter Line came alongside and sent over three of its crew on the cutter’s small boat. They were able to patch the hole, and Line escorted the survey boat to Elizabeth, N.J. There were no reports of injury or pollution. The operator of the survey boat was wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident. (Dec. 27)

Crews assist the operator of the 34-foot survey vessel Michele Jeanne Dec. 27 in Ambrose Channel near New York Harbor.

24-footer sinks in Chesapeake Bay

Station St. Inigoes, Md.

The Coast Guard rescued a man after his boat sank near Point Lookout, Md. The rescued man, using a marine band radio, notified the Coast Guard that his 24-foot boat was taking on water. Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes, Md., launched a rescue boat crew and Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., diverted a rescue helicopter crew to the scene. The rescue boat crew arrived first and removed the man, who was wearing a life jacket, from the water where he was clinging to the hull of his overturned boat. The rescue aircrew then hoisted the man aboard the helicopter and transported him to St. Mary’s Hospital. Water temperature was about 41 degrees. (Dec. 31)

Coast Guard rescues three from trawler

Station Oregon Inlet, N.C.

The Coast Guard rescued three men from a 71-foot fishing trawler that sank near Oregon Inlet, N.C. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina heard a mayday call from the crew stating they were sinking and needed immediate assistance. The three crewmembers donned their survival suits and climbed up to the pilothouse, which was the highest point on the boat and the only part still above water when rescue crews arrived. Two rescue boat crews from Station Oregon Inlet and the crew of a tug arrived on scene, but the fishing trawler was inaccessible to direct assistance from other boats. The good Samaritans and Coast Guard station personnel remained on scene to keep communication with the fishing vessel crew and to assist in case anyone fell into the water. A helicopter rescue crew from Air Station Elizabeth City arrived, hoisted the three individuals, and transported them to Station Oregon Inlet. (Dec. 31)

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)

Disabled 100 miles out

Station Cape May, N.J.

The Coast Guard rescued three people aboard a disabled 72-foot fishing boat 100 miles off the coast of Cape May, N.J. The Coast Guard received a call from a crew member aboard the boat, home-ported in Freeport, N.Y., reporting engine failure because of faulty batteries. The crew confirmed the boat was not in distress and was equipped with a life raft and an emergency position indicating radio beacon. The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mako, home-ported in Cape May, arrived on scene with replacement batteries. The crew replaced the batteries and were unable to restart the boat because of engine failure. The crew of the cutter was towing the fishing boat and crew to Cape May. The owner and operator of the boat contacted commercial assistance for relief of the tow once they arrived near Cape May. (Jan. 8)

Man swims after boat, dogs

Station Fire Island, N.Y.

A man and his two dogs were saved after they were separated by strong winds and a drifting boat near Fire Island, N.Y. The Coast Guard received a mayday call from a man reporting he was stranded on Captree Island while his boat, which held his two dogs, was drifting away from him. Coast Guard Station Fire Island launched a rescue boat crew and the Suffolk County Police Department sent a rescue helicopter and boat crew shortly after hearing the distress call. The man told the Coast Guard he was attempting to launch his boat, which contained his two dogs, and head back to land. The weather caused the boat to slip away from him as he pushed off the island. He reportedly swam after it, but because of strong winds and cold waters, he was unable to catch up. The rescue boat crew from Station Fire Island arrived and brought the man to safety. At the same time, Station Fire Island sent rescue patrols out to Robert Moses Beach to search for the missing boat, which was found 15 minutes later. The Coast Guard also found the two dogs still aboard and safely reunited them with their owner. The winds on scene were 32 to 38 mph. (Dec. 31)

This article originally appeared in the April 2009 issue.