Coast Guard, harbor police assist stranded boaters

Pacific Southwest Coast Guard News
SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard and Oceanside Harbor Police assisted two Orange County boaters to shore after their 26-foot boat became disabled and adrift approximately 31 miles west of Oceanside, Calif., Sunday.

The Coast Guard received a Mayday call on VHF-FM radio channel 16, the international hailing and distress channel, around 8:30 p.m., and launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicoper from Coast Guard Sector San Diego and diverted the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Haddock to investigate.

The helicopter crew located the Dana Point, Calif.-based pleasure craft drifting out to sea with a 52-year-old man and 32-year-old woman on board and waving their hands to get their attention around 8:45 p.m. The pair reported they had been disabled due to engine failure since 6 p.m.

The Haddock crew towed the vessel to about half a mile from Oceanside to the Oceanside Sea Buoy. The Oceanside Harbor Police met the Haddock at the buoy and completed the tow into Oceanside.

“Because the operators were not aware that marine channel 16 is the international hailing and distress channel, the sailors were trying every channel to reach help,” said Lt. j.g. Anthony Myers, the commanding officer of the Haddock. “Not knowing how to use their equipment may have further delayed their rescue. For this reason we highly encourage all mariners to contact their local Coast Guard Auxiliary before leaving the pier and get a free vessel safety check to make sure they have all the correct equipment aboard and that they know how to use it if they ever find themselves in need of help.”

In addition to getting vessels checked by the Auxiliary, the Coast Guard also recommends filing a float plan with a friend, family member or neighbor. A float plan includes a description of the boat, who is on board, location and an estimated time of return. In the event a boater doesn’t return when expected, the person entrusted with the float plan should notify the Coast Guard or other appropriate agency.

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