The skipper’s words were rapid and succinct: “Mayday, mayday, we have lost all power. We have a hole. We have two holes in the boat.”
With that, the cavalry — in the form of the Coast Guard — came charging out of San Diego Bay to the aid of five people aboard a 30-foot convertible 17 miles offshore.
The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter, a cutter and a 45-foot response boat after receiving the distress call about 6 p.m. on Aug. 30.
The PMS Escape II was taking on water and listing, and it had no power for bilge pumps or other electronics, the Coast Guard said.
Four adults and a 15-year-old boy were aboard. Another boat, named Jawbreaker, had heard the call and was helping when the Coast Guard arrived.
Coast Guard personnel dewatered the stricken boat and determined that the flooding aboard was attributable to a faulty engine fitting, the agency said.
PMS Escape II, with the skipper still aboard, was towed back to San Diego, and the other four people were taken ashore by the Coast Guard.
Capt. Jonathan Spaner, the San Diego sector commander, noted that all five people were wearing life jackets, the boat had a backup radio and signaling devices, and the crew knew how to call the Coast Guard.
"Being prepared can sometimes be the difference between life and death," Spaner told the Los Angeles Times.