Coast Guard assists sinking boat in York River

GLOUCESTER, Va. – The Coast Guard assisted five people aboard a sinking boat near York Spit in Gloucester early this morning.

The Gloucester Sheriff’s Department contacted Coast Guard watchstanders at Station Milford Haven at 11:35 p.m. Monday stating they had a report of a vessel taking on water and in need of assistance in the York River near York Spit.

A rescue boat crew aboard a 25-foot boat from the station arrived on scene and towed the vessel to Gloucester Point Pier. All five people were wearing their life vests when the crew arrived.

“This is a good example of why we have life jackets and laws requiring them,” said Dennis Sens, the Fifth Coast Guard District boating safety specialist. “Wearing life jackets or having them readily available minimizes the risk to boaters.”

In addition, boaters should ensure that their boat is structurally sound and safe to operate.

“Boaters should get a free Vessel Safety Check offered by either Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons,” Sens added. “They will make sure that the boat is safe and in compliance with federal regulations, and they can give the boaters some safety tips as well.”

Sens also added that a boater education law is scheduled to take effect throughout Commonwealth of Virginia waters on July 1, 2009. The new requirement for boating safety education will be phased in over several years and applies to all personal watercraft operators and operators of motorboats of 10-horsepower and greater. Boaters in Virginia should visit the web site at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/ for more information. The new boater education law will help to ensure boaters are familiar with safety equipment and procedures so they have a safe, secure and enjoyable recreational boating experience.

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