SAN FRANCISCO – A father and son were rescued after they were reported overdue near South Lake Tahoe early Sunday morning.
Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watchstanders were notified at approximately 1:45 a.m. by a woman reporting her husband and 3-year-old son missing. The woman stated that the two were on their boat watching the fireworks display on the southern end of Lake Tahoe and were due back by 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
The woman reported the last communication she received from her husband was a voicemail saying, “I’m stuck, with anchor, trying to get ungrounded,” at 11:29 p.m. Saturday.
A Coast Guard Station Lake Tahoe response boatcrew was dispatched to assist with the search for the overdue father and son. They coordinated the rescue with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and South Lake Tahoe Fire Department, which responded to an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast issued by the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard checked with the family’s cell phone provider, which reported the phone was powered off or out of transmission range. The cell phone provider reported the last transmission was the voicemail the husband left for his wife at 11:29 p.m. with a position near Regan Beach of South Lake Tahoe. With this information, the father and son were quickly located by responders and rescued by South Lake Tahoe Fire Department. The father and son showed no signs of injury.
“The last known position from the cell phone provider was essential for quickly finding the father and son. Cell phone batteries die, and it’s important to remind boaters that their phone shouldn’t be relied upon as the primary signaling device in case of emergencies,” said Lt. Wes Geyer, a command duty officer at Sector San Francisco.
The Coast Guard recommends boaters have signaling devices to communicate distress on the water, such as marine-brand radios, signal flares and emergency position-indicating radio beacons. Due to limited battery life and gaps in coverage experienced on the water, marine-band radios are recommended as a boater’s primary means of communicating distress on the water. The Coast Guard monitors channel 16 on marine-band radios 24/7. These devices alert first responders, help the Coast Guard with the search and may enable much faster rescues. To register an EPIRB, visit http://ift.tt/1gVNwjd.