Coast Guard assists 4 near Smith Point, Md.

USCG file photo

BALTIMORE – The Coast Guard assisted four people from a vessel disabled and beset by weather in the Potomac River near Smith Point, Md., Friday.

Rescued was Pete Hoeltje, 38, from Manahawkin, N.J., Mike Carrey, 22, from Manahawkin, N.J., Mike Dunlap, 38, from Chestertown Md., and Paul Snieckus, 20, from Marlton, N.J.

Hoeltje contacted Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders via marine-band radio at 1:51 a.m., reporting that his 28-foot sailboat was disabled and beset by weather.

A 41-foot Utility Boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes, Md., arrived on scene at 2:31 a.m., and transferred the passengers onto their vessel, where they were then taken to Station St. Inigoes.

“We were operating on a handheld radio at that point,” said Hoeltje. “We figured the only people that were going to hear us was the Coast Guard. It’s nice having the peace of mind to know that you guys are there in any given situation.”

The mariners were later transported to Annapolis, Md., by Coast Guard personnel.

“This is yet another great example of how a mariner properly used his VHF radio to contact the Coast Guard,” said Chief Petty Officer Lawrence Beatty, a search and rescue coordinator at Sector Baltimore. “We were able to utilize our Rescue 21 system to establish communications and locate the mariner quickly.”

As the air and water temperatures in Maryland and Washington, D.C., begin to decrease, the risk mariners may face if they find themselves in an emergency situation while on the water significantly increases. The Coast Guard urges mariners to plan for what might go wrong and be equipped and prepared for survival.

There were no reports of injuries.

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