Coast Guard crews assist flooding fishing boat

BOSTON – Two Cape Cod-based Coast Guard crews responded by air and sea when a fishing boat began taking on water 35 miles east of Chatham, Mass., today.

The six-person fishing crew aboard the 81-foot Tropico radioed Sector Southeastern New England at 5:40 a.m., saying the boat was flooded, and their onboard pumps had failed.

The crew sealed off the affected compartment and contained the flooding, but without pumps, was unable to remove the water. The crew members donned their survival suits and were prepared to activate their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon if they lost communications with the Coast Guard or needed to abandon ship.

A Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod and a 32-foot boat crew from Station Chatham launched, arrived on scene at about 8:30 a.m., and transferred two pumps to the Tropico crew.

Using the Coast Guard’s pumps, the fishing crew dewatered the space and began repairs. The Coast Guard is escorting the Tropico as they return to New Bedford.

“This is a classic case of prepared fishermen,” said Ted Harrington, the fishing vessel safety coordinator for the First Coast Guard District. “They put their survival suits on and they had a working EPIRB onboard and were ready to use it.”

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