Success Stories

Man pulled from Nantucket Harbor after sailboat capsize
April 7, 2017

(April 7, 2017) A 65-year-old man was pulled from 40-degree water Friday afternoon after he capsized in a 10-foot sailboat in Nantucket Harbor by the cut in the east jetty.

“He was wearing a lifejacket and that probably saved his life,” U.S. Coast Guard Station Brant Point Boatswain Mate First Class Peter Caires said.

The man, who was not identified, was probably in the water for as long as 25 minutes and was showing signs of hypothermia, Caires said.

A Station Brant Point rescue vessel with a crew of four was able to throw the man a line and get him out of the water. He was transported back to the station and brought to Nantucket Cottage Hospital for evaluation and treatment.

A 911 call came from a person walking the beach who spotted the Muriel, a 10-foot homemade sailing vessel, capsized in the water just after 1 p.m.

Nantucket Police dispatch contacted Harbormaster Sheila Lucey, who contacted the Coast Guard and both launched rescue vessels.

There is a small-craft advisory in effect today for Nantucket waters with sustained winds out of the southwest at 18 knots (21 mph), Caires said.

Lucey said she and the Coast Guard reached the distressed boater around the same time.


Coast Guard rescues 4 men near Galveston
Feb 18, 2017

GALVESTON –  Coast Guard officials say four men have been rescued from a life raft in the Gulf of Mexico after their fishing boat capsized about 100 miles off Galveston.

Authorities say nobody was hurt in Friday afternoon’s rescue credited to some people in a nearby fishing boat amid stormy weather.

The Coast Guard received a satellite distress signal around 12:30 p.m. Friday. The Coast Guard dispatched search vessels and began broadcasting alerts for other boaters in the area, about 100 miles southeast of Galveston, to help.

A Coast Guard statement says some people in a 35-foot sport fishing boat received the information and located the life raft, rescuing all four men on board.

All were safely returned to Galveston on Friday night.


US Coast Guard rescues man clinging to life raft off Puerto Rico
February 06, 2017

Wolfgang Sloma was rescued Sunday morning.  (US Coast Guard/Ricardo Castrodad)
The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a man clinging to a life raft after his sailboat sank off the coast of Puerto Rico.
Wolfgang Sloma, 56, was found Sunday morning about 120 nautical miles northeast of San Juan after he sent out a distress signal.

His boat, the 27-foot-long “Daphni,” sank in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Puerto Rico.  Sloma said the boat started to take on water when a mast partially broke and opened a hole in the hull.

The Austrian, who was traveling solo, put on a life jacket and got onto the raft, which was equipped with signal lights, GPS, food, a radio and a satellite phone.

The man was pulled out of the water by a HH-60 Jayhawk.  He was transferred to the Borinquen Air Station in Puerto Rico, where medical staffers evaluated and released him.


EPIRBs Contributed to 300 Rescues in 2016
Jan 20, 2017

On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) reported that the COSPAS-SARSAT system contributed to more than 300 successful rescues in America last year.

COSPAS-SARSAT is the international satellite system that receives EPIRB distress signals. An activated EPIRB sends a distress message to the satellite constellation, which forwards it to the authorities via a ground station. On modern transmitters the message is encoded with a registration number and the GPS latitude and longitude of the sender.

In the U.S., EPIRB distress signals go to NOAA’s SARSAT Mission Control Center in Suitland, Maryland. Signals on land are forwarded to the Air Force, and typically passed on to local authorities. Signals at sea or on the water are forwarded the Coast Guard.

In 2016, the system assisted in 205 waterborne rescues, 79 rescues on shore and an additional 23 rescues resulting from an aviation incident. The biggest EPIRB-assisted rescue of the year was the response to the sinking of the Alaska Juris. First responders saved 46 fishermen from the Juris – the largest SAR success story in the history of NOAA’s COSPAS-SARSAT operations.

Other highlights of 2016 included the rescue of two South Carolina Air National Guard F-16 pilots who ejected from their aircraft after a mid-air explosion. Their seats were equipped with EPIRB units that activated automatically. Both pilots were recovered uninjured.

“On any given day, at any given time, NOAA satellites can play a direct role in saving lives,” said Chris O’Connors, NOAA SARSAT program manager. “These rescues underscore SARSAT’s true value.”

Since the program’s inception in 1982, COSPAS-SARSAT has been credited with supporting more than 41,000 rescues worldwide, including more than 8,000 in the United States and its surrounding waters. NOAA’s EPIRB registry includes over 500,000 entries for beacons used by private citizens, merchant vessels, personal watercraft, commercial airplanes, military units and other users.


Coast Guard rescues two on lobster boat near York
January 14, 2017

YORK — The Coast Guard rescued two people off their sinking vessel Friday, about 17 miles off shore from York.
At around 3:15 p.m., Coast Guard Sector Northern New England received a MAYDAY call on VHF-CH. 16 from a crew member reporting their 45-foot lobster boat, Miss Mae & Son, was hit with a rogue wave and the pumps could not keep up with the water.

A boat crew from Station Portsmouth Harbor launched their 47-foot response boat and arrived on the scene to find the fishermen standing on the pilot house in full survival gear.

Because of safety concerns, the fishermen jumped into the water and the boat crew pulled alongside to bring them on board.
The water temperature was 42 degrees and the air temperature was 37 degrees.

The fishermen are being brought back to Station Portsmouth Harbor and no injuries have been reported.

“The lobsterman did all the right things – activated their emergency personal indicating response beacon, called for help on the radio, and wore the proper survival gear,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Mathlin, the coxswain of the 47-foot response boat.
Sector Northern New England is currently issuing a broadcast to mariners informing them the lobster boat is taking on water and adrift with nobody on board.


5 rescued after fishing boat sinks off Columbia River
January 7th 2017

WARRENTON, Oregon — Five people were pulled from the water near the entrance to the Columbia River early Saturday after their fishing boat sank.

The Coast Guard says it got mayday calls at 4:31 from the Star King, a 55-foot trawler based in Astoria, Oregon. The boat was taking on water, then suddenly capsized.

The crewmembers had on survival suits. Another fishing boat, the Sea Ballad, pulled the five from the water. A Coast Guard boat later got the men and took them to Ilwaco. The men didn’t need medical attention.

The quick, selfless actions taken by the crew of the good Samaritan crab vessel Sea Ballad and the fact that the Star King’s crew put on survival suits saved five lives today,” said Chief Petty Officer Justin Urbano, command duty officer, Sector Columbia River, in a news release. “The Coast Guard had a quick response, but these fishermen were out of the water before we arrived on scene.

The Coast Guard said the sunken boat “is not blocking navigation, but is a hazard to navigation and all mariners need to be on the lookout” in the area.

The Star King had 300 gallons of fuel onboard when it sank. Personnel from Sector Columbia River Incident Management Division have been notified and will oversee the cleanup of the pollution threat.


Coast Guard rescues four stranded on island after boat capsized in Prince William Sound
November 18, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska — A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued four people from Knight Island in Marsha Bay in the vicinity of Prince William Sound, Friday afternoon.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage were initially notified via satellite phone by a good Samaritan who heard the distress call via VHF-FM radio channel 16, stating that a 28-foot Bayliner was taking on water in Marsha Bay. Alaska State Troopers later received an emergency beacon alert from the survivors indicating that they were in distress.

Sector Anchorage watchstanders quickly correlated the two distress calls and launched Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak Jayhawk helicopter and HC-130 Hercules aircraft crews along with a Coast Guard Station Valdez 45-foot Response Boat — Medium boatcrew.

The assets arrived on scene, located the survivors who activated a flare and the Jayhawk crew safely hoisted them.
This is a perfect example of a worst case scenario where the survivors were prepared and did everything right,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Taylor, watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “Communication was extremely spotty in their location, but they used everything possible from VHF radio to flares to an emergency beacon. This along with our crews fast response time ultimately saved their lives.

Cell phone reception along Alaska’s waterways is often unreliable. In addition to the required signaling devices, the Coast Guard advises mariners to carry a VHF-FM radio, satellite telephone or emergency beacon.
The four survivors were taken to Cordova, Alaska, with no medical concerns.


Coast Guard Rescues Four
October 23, 2016

Clearwater, Fla.– Four local people are lucky to be alive after their boat capsized 12 miles off John’s Pass in the Gulf of Mexico.
One of the people on board the 29 foot boat was able to call 9-1-1 when the vessel started taking on water.

The Coast Guard advised the four people to put on their life jackets and wait. The Coast Guard lifted all four to safety on a helicopter within an hour of the distress call.

The four, 55 year-old Joseph Fernandez, 42 year-old Phillip Fernandez, 40 year-old Erick Quesada and 8 year-old Samantha Fernandez, escaped without any injuries.


Coast Guard chopper rescues two boaters from capsized vessel off Tortugas
October 12, 2016

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued two people Wednesday after their boat capsized about 35 miles northwest of the Dry Tortugas.

Crew from Coast Guard Sector Key West and District 7 in Miami sent the Cutter Kathleen Moore and an MH-60 Jayhak helicopter crew to the area after receiving an electronic rescue signal from the 37-foot sail boat. The Tortugas is about 50 miles west of Key West.

The helicopter crew located the capsized vessel around 8 a.m. Two people were sitting on the hull. They were hoisted onto the helicopter and taken to awaiting Monroe County Fire-Rescue crews at Key West International Airport. They were in good health, according to a Coast Guard press release.

The Coast Guard said the incident demonstrates the effectiveness of electronic rescue signals, know as Electronic Positioning Indicating Radio Beacons. Chief Petty Officer Nathan Webb, Coast Guard 7th District command center controller, urged all boaters to have them on their vessels.

The sailing vessel’s EPIRB helped us direct our rescue crews to their location saving critical time,” Webb said in a statement. “This is a great example of how an EPIRB can alert the Coast Guard when someone is in distress. The minutes or hours it saves could be the difference between life and death.