Coast Guard assists 3 boaters 17 miles north west of Suwannee River

Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean J. Baker, a 27-foot Utility Boat-Medium (UT-M) crewmember from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown, uses a marine band radio aboard the boat 17 miles north west of Suwannee River, Florida, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. The UT-M boatcrew assisted three mariners aboard a 23-foot disabled boat, pictured, after the boat experienced mechanical issues. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Michael Clark)

Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean J. Baker, a 27-foot Utility Boat-Medium (UT-M) crewmember from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown, uses a marine band radio aboard the boat 17 miles north west of Suwannee River, Florida, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Michael Clark)

YANKEETOWN, Fla. — The Coast Guard assisted three mariners Sunday aboard a disabled 23-foot boat approximately 17 miles north west of Suwannee River.

Assisted were Gainesville natives Michael Harris, 84, David Dolan, 24, and Kelly Haine, 57.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg Command Center received a call from Levy County at 3:22 a.m. stating three boaters went fishing Saturday morning, but failed to return.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater was diverted to search for the missing boaters. The aircrew located the boaters waving for assistance.

A 27-foot Utility Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown and a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boatcrew were diverted to the boaters’ location.

The boatcrews arrived on scene and found the mariners aboard their disabled boat experiencing mechanical issues. The mariners were transported to shore with no reported injuries. The boat was later recovered by commercial salvage.

“All boaters need to prepare for potential hazards, keep advised of weather changes through the National Weather Service and to monitor VHF-FM channel 16 for the most current safety advisories,” said Richard Hutchinson, a search and rescue coordinator at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “Also, boaters can avoid potential issues by obtaining a free vessel safety check, which can be conducted by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, before heading out on the water.”

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