Advanced communication system helps Coast Guard save 4 prepared boaters

Coast Guard District 11 NewsSAN PEDRO, Calif. – The Coast Guard rescued four boaters after their 26-foot boat sunk about 13 miles northeast of Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island, Calif., at about 9:30 p.m. Monday.

Coast Guard Command Center personnel heard three quick mayday calls via VHF radio channel 16, but were not given a location of the boaters in distress.  Using the Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 communication system, watchstanders were able to pinpoint the origin of the radio transmission.

Command Center personnel also received an electronic notification from an emergency personal locator beacon that the owner of the boat was wearing.  Using the registered contact information, the boater’s wife was able to provide the Coast Guard with a description of the men and boat, route, and destination of the group.

A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles was launched and located the four men floating in the water, rescuing three.  A 45-foot Response Boat Medium from Station Los Angeles-Long arrived and rescued the fourth boater and picked up the helicopter rescue swimmer.

A 25-foot response boat from Maritime Safety and Security Team Los Angeles-Long Beach and the 87-footer Coast Guard Cutter Blackfin were diverted to assist in the search for vessel debris.  Avalon Baywatch was called and assisted in the search efforts as well.

The Coast Guard wants to commend these boaters for greatly increasing their own chances of survival, which allowed rescuers to reach them by:

  • Telling a friend or family member the departure location, route and destination of trip
  • Having and using a marine radio
  • Owning and registering a Personal Locator Beacon
  • All four boaters were wearing lifejackets
  • All four boaters were wearing cold water survival suits

The men were evaluated by emergency medical technicians and found to be suffering from only minor hypothermia and were released.

Rescue 21 is the Coast Guard’s advanced command, control and communications system. Created to improve the ability to assist mariners in distress and save lives and property at sea, the system is currently being installed in stages across the United States.

To learn more about Rescue 21, click http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/rescue21/default.asp

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