Coast Guard, Alameda Fire Department assist 16 rowers aground in Alameda

A Cost Guard Air Station San Francisco MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

USCG File Photo

SAN FRANCISCO — A Coast Guard rescue swimmer and an Alameda Fire Department rescue boat crew assisted 16 rowers Saturday afternoon after their boat took on water and ran aground approximately 50 yards north of Coast Guard Island in Alameda.

An Alameda Fire Department rescue boat crew notified Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watchstanders around 11:30 a.m. that they noticed a large team row boat, also known as a dragon boat, aground on the north side of Coast Guard Island. Due to the shallow depth of water Alameda Fire Department’s rescue boat was unable to get close enough to establish communication.

Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watchstanders were able to establish cell phone communication with a crewmember aboard the dragon boat and discovered the vessel had a hole in its hull, was taking on water and was sitting on the bottom as the tide was coming in. Several crewmembers were standing around the dragon boat in waist-high water while others remained aboard the dragon boat. All crewmembers were wearing life jackets.

A Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco Dolphin helicopter crew and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew were dispatched to the scene. An Alameda Fire Department rescue boat and a second dragon boat from the California Dragon Boat Association also arrived on scene to assist.

A Coast Guard rescue swimmer was deployed from the helicopter onto Coast Guard Island. The swimmer proceeded to the grounded dragon boat and with the assistance of the Alameda Fire Department rescue boat crew, helped all 16 rowers safely onto the second dragon boat.

All 16 rowers are accounted for and out of danger.

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