Coast Guard helps mariner find saftey near Kona.

Honaunau Bay, HI — The U.S. Coast Guard coordinated rescue operations with Hawaii County Fire Department to save a mariner adrift at sea off the South Kona coast of the Big Island early this morning.

At 1:20 a.m. a distressed mariner contacted Coast Guard Sector Honolulu’s Command Center by cell phone to report that his 17-ft vessel was disabled, powerless, and drifting out to sea near Honaunau Bay. After losing the cell phone connection, the Coast Guard immediately launched a rescue helicopter from Air Station Barber’s Point and contacted Hawaii County Fire Department for assistance.

The Coast Guard helicopter arrived on scene at 3:24 am, quickly located the distressed vessel, and lowered a hand-held radio to improve communications. Hawaii County Fire Department launched a rescue boat out of Kailua Fire Station and was directed to the disabled vessel by the Coast Guard helicopter. The rescue boat took the vessel in tow at 5:45 a.m. and brought the vessel and its one passenger safely to Keauhou Harbor.

An excellent example of the resourcefulness and cooperation of the Coast Guard and Hawaii County Fire department, this case also shows the importance of safe boating practice. Having flares, a hand-held radio and other recommended emergency equipment can take the search out of search and rescue.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free boating safety courses. Information is available on the web at http://nws.cgaux.org/visitors/pe_visitor/index.html or by contacting the local Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla listed in the blue pages of the phone book.

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