Coast Guard, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office assist 3 boaters sinking off Gasparilla Pass

Coast Guard crewmembers aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Station Cortez, Florida and a Charlotte County Sheriff's Office marine unit crew assist three men Wednesday after their 52-foot fishing boat started sinking 4 miles west of Gasparilla Pass, Florida. Attempts to dewater and tow the boat were unsuccessful, so the boaters were transported to the Venice Inlet, Florida, where family members were waiting. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard crewmembers from Station Cortez, assist three men Wednesday after their 52-foot fishing boat started sinking 4 miles west of Gasparilla Pass, Florida.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

VENICE, Fla. — The Coast Guard and Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office assisted three men Wednesday after their boat started sinking 4 miles west of Gasparilla Pass.

Assisted were:

  • Sherman Williams, 66
  • Frank Williams, 33
  • Justin Mahaffy, 31

Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders received a report at 6:28 p.m. Tuesday from the Charlotte County Dispatch stating three people aboard the 52-foot fishing boat Salty Lady were taking on water and they were in need of emergency assistance 4 miles west of Gasparilla Pass.

A 29-foot Response Boat-Medium (RBM) boat crew from Coast Guard Station Cortez and the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Seahawk, an 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat stationed at Sector St. Petersburg, launched to assist.

A Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office marine unit crew arrived at 7:38 p.m and assisted with dewatering the boat. The boat crew aboard the Seahawk arrived at 8:22 p.m. and the RBM arrived at 10:12 p.m. to join the dewatering efforts.

At 1:19 a.m. Wednesday, the boat crews determined they were not able to keep up with the flooding to safely tow the Salty Lady crew. All three boaters were transferred to the RBM.

The boaters were transported to Venice Inlet at 1:52 a.m. Wednesday where family members were waiting.

No injuries were reported. The owner is making arrangements to have the Salty Lady towed to Boca Grande.

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