Coast Guard receives gift from sailing vessel California crew

KODIAK, Alaska – Pete Rollason, the skipper of the British-flagged sailing vessel California, presented the Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak’s radio canister to Coast Guard representatives Tuesday in San Francisco after an Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules crew assisted the California crew March 22, 2010, 800 miles northeast of Midway Island during the Clipper Round-the-World race.

The Hercules crew located the 66-foot British-flagged sailing vessel California about 1,200 miles south of Kodiak and dropped medical supplies and a VHF radio to the vessel’s crew who had sustained a 120 degree roll in 50 mph winds and 20-foot seas.

“There was a lot of pressure to get the drop right,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Fox, aviation maintenance technician and resident of Fairborn, Ohio. “The pilots calculated where we needed to drop the canister and to get it as close as we did on the first try was good. The training we do all the time really paid off.”

By utilizing the aircraft’s direction finder and the California’s registered emergency position indicating radio beacon, the Hercules crew was able to pinpoint the California’s location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

“There is a 99 percent guarantee that we will know where you are and can send assistance if you have an EPIRB and have it registered,” said Cmdr. Joe Deer, Air Station Kodiak operations officer. “With the aircraft’s direction finding capabilities and a registered EPIRB, we can know who and where you are in 52 seconds.”

The Coast Guard encourages Alaskans to have a registered EPIRB or personal locator beacon during activities such as recreational boating, hiking, hunting or riding an all-terrain vehicle. With today’s technology, the Coast Guard can locate someone in distress in an efficient manner and provide needed assistance.

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