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Mishaps & Rescues – New England

Recent responses around the Northeast

C.G. saves four in storm

The sailing vessel Moonshine is pictured at the dock at Coast Guard Station Montauk, N.Y., after the Coast Guard rescued a four-person crew caught in an offshore storm that shredded the sails.

Station Point Judith, R.I.

The Coast Guard rescued four people aboard a storm-ravaged sailboat, about seven miles south of Block Island, R.I. The crew of the 45-foot sailboat left East Greenwich, R.I., bound for Puerto Rico, when it was caught in an offshore storm, which ripped its sails and disabled propulsion. The crew activated the EPIRB, allowing the Coast Guard to track its position. The 1st District Command Center in Boston launched a 47-foot motor lifeboat crew from Station Point Judith, R.I., and a helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod. Both crews arrived at the last position the EPIRB indicated, but because of the 30- to 40-knot winds, the sailboat was drifting out of position faster than the beacon could transmit. Visibility was less than one mile, and the seas were 8 to 12 feet. The crew of the sailboat shot off a flare, and the rescue crews located the disabled sailboat and determined no one was injured. The motor lifeboat crew took the sailboat in tow. After a nearly seven-hour transit, they arrived near Montauk, N.Y., and transferred the tow to a Station Montauk lifeboat crew that took the sailboat and crew safely to Montauk. Air temperature was 39 degrees; the water was 42 degrees. (Dec. 20)

Stranded off N.J.

Sector New York

Four Massachusetts fishermen and their dog stranded 90 miles off New Jersey were rescued by the Coast Guard. The 80-foot fishing boat was placed in tow by the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Reliance. The fishing boat was being brought to Point Judith rather than New York so the crew could salvage the catch. The tow was scheduled to be passed off to Sea Tow and brought into a safe haven for repairs. The captain of the fishing boat contacted Coast Guard Sector New York by emergency radio to notify them that a net was tangled in the propeller. The Coast Guard quickly issued a Marine Assistance Request Broadcast for boats in the area and began making preparations to assist the fishing boat. Cutter Reliance was diverted and traveled 44 miles to the location. (Dec. 13)

Search suspended

Station Jones Beach, N.Y.

The Coast Guard suspended a search for a boater who had been missing for a day. The 65-year-old man was reported missing by his son after the man did not return from a fishing trip. The man’s vehicle and trailer were located at a marina in Sewaren, N.J. A Coast Guard rescue jet located a boat matching the description of the overdue vessel adrift 20 miles south of East Rockaway, N.Y. A wallet belonging to the man, as well as various articles of clothing, were found on the boat during inspection by a Coast Guard Station Jones Beach rescue boat crew. Because of weather conditions and the drop in water temperature, survivability in the area had been greatly reduced, according to the Coast Guard. Two Coast Guard rescue boat crews were launched from Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook, as well as rescue helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City and Cape Cod. Coast Guard cutters Tybee and Bainbridge Island conducted offshore searches throughout the day. A New York City Police Department helicopter crew and the Sandy Hook Park Police also assisted in the search. The case has been suspended pending further developments. (Dec. 5)

Fire destroys sportfisher

Station Oregon Inlet, N.C.

A Coast Guard rescue boat crew saved two people from a burning boat in Roanoke Channel near Wanchese, N.C. A Station Oregon Inlet 21-foot boat crew was familiarizing a new crewmember with the area when they saw smoke and arrived at the scene of a burning 43-foot sportfishing boat. Two people were pulled to safety before their boat was consumed with fire. A 47-foot rescue boat crew also responded to the fire in order to keep other boats at a safe distance. According to the Coast Guard, the fire quickly spread across the deck. Coast Guard Sector North Carolina issued a Marine Safety Information Broadcast on marine radio channels 16 and 22. Salvage attempts were to be attempted as soon as the weather subsided. Mariners were urged to take caution when transiting this area. Between 2 to 3 feet of the sunken boat remain above the water and out of the navigable channel. (Dec. 8)

This article originally appeared in the March 2009 issue.