A Northern California Coast Guard boat crew rescued two fishermen from the surf Thursday, March 23 when their 16-foot recreational vessel was overturned by a wave.
The two men were clinging to the hull of the boat in 12-14 feet of breaking surf when the Station Humboldt Bay rescue crew arrived on scene and threw them a life line.
“One of the men was able to swim to the line and grab hold, but the other was too cold to let go of the boat,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Torre Taylor, the coxswain on the rescue boat. “He swam back and grabbed him and the crew pulled them to the boat.”
“It was my first time seeing everything come together,” said Seaman Noah Perry, a newly-qualified crewman. “And even though it was really intense, and we took a few breakers, everyone fell back on their training. It felt really good.”
The Coast Guard received the report from a good Samaritan who witnessed the event, and he stayed on scene to help vector the Coast Guard crew to the rescue. Thanks to his efforts, the Coast Guard was able to take the two men to shore, where one of the survivors was transferred to local emergency management services and treated for hypothermia. The two men were wearing life jackets, and the Coast Guard would like to remind everyone of the importance of a properly-fitting life jacket. Other safety equipment includes, hypothermic kits or first aid kits, flares, survival knife and strobe lights.
This case is a good reminder of the importance of boating safety. A small-craft advisory is in effect for much of the California coast. Boaters are strongly encouraged to monitor the weather conditions before heading out and while underway. For marine weather forecast click here. (http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/)
While many boaters rely on cell phones for emergency communications on the water, VHF-FM radios are the most reliable forms of communication in the marine environment and work in areas where cell phones sometimes may not. Additionally, when a mayday is broadcast over VHF-FM channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, response agencies and other nearby boaters can hear the distress call and offer immediate assistance. It is also a good idea for a boater to carry a cell phone in a waterproof container as a backup form of communication.
The Coast Guard also highly recommends all mariners equip their boats with emergency position-indicating radio beacons or personal locator beacons. EPIRBs and PLBs may be activated manually by the push of a button or automatically when coming in contact with water, depending on the model.
“Anyone can purchase an EPIRB at a marine supply store,” said Rear Adm. Karl Schultz, commanding officer for the 11th Coast Guard District. “When a vessel in distress, the EPIRB will float free automatically sending a signal which will be picked up by satellite and rescue coordination center worldwide will know the exact location.”
If there are any signs of distress, never hesitate to contact emergency crews for help. Call for help at the first signs of distress, and the Coast Guard is always standing by on marine channel 16.