Coast Guard finds 3 missing boaters near Cobb Island, Md.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Coast Guard rescue crews assisted three overdue boaters whose 19-foot clamming boat broke down near Cobb Island, Md., Tuesday night.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received a call from Scott Stiles, a relative of the missing boaters, at 9:45 p.m. stating that Kenneth, Howard, and Douglas Stiles were 2 hours overdue from their clamming trip from Oyster, Va.

Boat crews from Station Wachapreague, Station Cape Charles, and a helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City searched for the boat with the guidance of Stiles, who told them where his brothers typically go clamming.

The helicopter crew located the clam boat on the west side of Cobb Island at 12:30 a.m., and lowered a rescue swimmer to speak with the operator, who said that the engine was disabled.

The boat crew from Station Wachapreague arrived on scene and towed the boat back to Oyster, Va.

The boat had flares, but no radio or cell phone.

“We recommend boaters to always have a cell phone or other means of communication when they’re on the water,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class James Schavel, a coxswain at Station Wachapreague who responded in the search.

“At a minimum, you should have an accurate float plan with someone who knows exactly where you’re going and can point us in the right direction if something goes wrong,” said Schavel

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