Coast Guard assists mariner at sea in Mexican waters

Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Haddock’s rescue and assist team work to dewater the Spin Drift, a 17-foot aluminum boat, approximately 12 miles south of Point Loma, May 21, 2015. After assisting with dewatering and escorting the vessel to port in San Diego, the cutter crew terminated the vessel’s voyage when they discovered the vessel didn’t have watertight integrity and only had buckets to thwart the flooding, had no sound producing device such as an air horn aboard and no visual distress devices such as flares or a signaling mirror.

Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Haddock’s rescue and assist team work to dewater the Spin Drift, a 17-foot aluminum boat, approximately 12 miles south of Point Loma.

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego based Coast Guard cutter assisted a mariner at sea, Thursday, after his boat began taking on water 12 miles south of Point Loma in Mexican waters.

The Joint Harbor Operations Center in San Diego received a VHF-FM radio call on Channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, at 9:20 a.m., from the owner of the Spin Drift, a 17-foot aluminum boat, requesting Coast Guard assistance after his vessel began taking on water.

The Coast Guard dispatched the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Haddock and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to assist.

The Haddock arrived on scene at 10 a.m., and deployed their small boat with a rescue and assist team aboard.

“The vessel was taking on water with about 60 gallons of water on the deck,” said Lt. Katie Spira, the commanding officer of the Haddock. “They were taking on water with a rate of about five gallons per minute.”

The rescue and assist team dewatered the vessel and the Haddock escorted the vessel to port in San Diego.

Upon returning to port, the cutter crew terminated the vessel’s voyage after finding three violations. The vessel did not have watertight integrity and only had buckets to thwart the flooding, had no sound producing device such as an air horn and no visual distress devices such as flares or a signaling mirror.

“Having equipment such as flares and air horns is a good way to signal those around you that you need help,” Spira said. “Thankfully the gentleman had a radio he was able to contact us on. We encourage all mariners to ensure they have all the required equipment on their vessel and make sure it’s in good working order every time they get underway.”

The cause of the flooding is unknown.

Mariners can ensure their vessels have the required equipment by arranging a free vessel safety exam with the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Auxiliary also offers safe boating courses for mariners. To find the location of the nearest Auxiliary flotilla and a schedule of safe-boating classes, please visit their website at www.cgaux.org.

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