Chihuahua, 3 people saved by Coast Guard after sailboat breakdown

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter over the Missfit. Coast Guard photo

MCKINLEYVILLE — The Coast Guard rescued three people and a Chihuahua Wednesday from a disabled sailboat approximately 35 miles west of Klamath.

At approximately 6:25 a.m., the sailing vessel Missfit’s captain contacted Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay Command Center watchstanders via VHF-FM radio, stating the vessel had lost propulsion in 35-knot winds and up to 20-foot seas and were requesting assistance.

Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders dispatched two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews to the scene to assist.

Upon arriving on scene with the sailboat, the Dolphin crews deployed their rescue swimmers and hoisted all three passengers and their Chihuahua aboard.

The rescue. Coast Guard photo

The passengers of the Misfit were transported to Sector Humboldt Bay in McKinleyville where they were met by awaiting emergency medical services personnel.

"I’m very proud of the response that our helicopter and command center crews provided on this rescue," said Cmdr. Brendan Hilleary, the Sector Humboldt Bay Response chief. “Their professionalism and decisive action were the key to a successful outcome.”

The crew consisted of a 52-year-old male captain, a 72-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman, who reported they were on a journey from Washington and headed to San Francisco when the sailboat became disabled. 

No injuries to the crew or Chihuahua were reported.

The crew with rescuees. Coast Guard photo

The Coast Guard recommends the following safety tips for boaters and paddlers:

  • Wear a life jacket. The Coast Guard estimates that life jackets could have saved the lives of more than 80 percent of boating fatality victims.
  • Carry a VHF-FM marine-band radio and alternate means of communication. Cell phones often lose signal and run out of batteries after a day on the water. They are helpful, but not reliable for emergencies.
  • Boaters and paddlers should have access to a handheld marine radio. In addition, the Coast Guard reminds boaters to always monitor VHF-FM channel 16 for the most current ocean forecast and marine broadcasts information.
  • Carry and Register an EPIRB. Response time is the key to survival. A properly registered Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon provides an accurate way for the Coast Guard to locate and rescue persons in distress.

More boating safety information and the current boating safety statistic report is available on the Coast Guard boating safety web site at:



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