ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Coast Guard found two missing fishermen, father and son, 35 miles southwest of Marco, Florida, Sunday.
At approximately 1:00 a.m. watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a report that Juan Martinez, 27, and his father Juan Martinez, 50, were expected and failed to return from a fishing trip at the Bay View boat ramp in Naples, Florida. Watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and launched a C-130 Hercules air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida, to begin searching.
During the search, the C-130 aircraft located the 23-foot vessel after the men fired flares to signal for help. The C-130 reported the location to Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach who then launched a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew. Once on scene, the boatcrew determined the electronics on the 23-foot boat had malfunctioned. The men reported they attempted to transit back to shore, but were unsuccessful.
The RB-M boatcrew escorted the men to rendezvous with a Tow Boat US boatcrew for safe transit to shore. No injuries were reported.
“This is a perfect example of why having a float plan, and proper safety equipment is so vital,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Aping, a officer of the day at Station Fort Myers Beach. “The men made the conscious decision to tell someone where they were going and when they would come back, and it expedited our search ten-fold.”