Coast Guard rescues 2 from sinking sailboat

cg-D11SAN FRANCISCO – The Coast Guard saved two people from their sinking sailboat 17 miles offshore, south of Monterey Friday afternoon.

At 4:38 p.m., Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watchstanders received a VHF-FM radio transmission distress call from a person aboard a 55-foot sailboat, who reported the vessel was taking on water at a rapid rate. The two people aboard could not identify why the boat was sinking, and the vessel’s built-in dewatering pump was not able to keep up with the flooding water. The vessel was reported to be located approximately 60 miles south of Monterey and 17 miles offshore, in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Two rescue boatcrews were dispatched from Coast Guard Station Monterey and Coast Guard Station Morro Bay, and a search-and-rescue helicopter aircrew was launched from Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco. The on-scene weather was reported as six-to-eight-foot high sea swells and 20-to-25-mph winds. The two people aboard the sinking vessel were equipped with personal floatation devices, a rescue life raft and an emergency position-indicating radio beacon, which was activated to assist the rescue crews in locating their exact position.

At 6:40 p.m, the rescue aircrew located the sailboat with the two people aboard. Utilizing the rescue swimmer, both survivors were hoisted from the sinking sailboat and into the helicopter where they were transported to safety. The sailboat was not salvageable due to the amount of flooding.

“The successful outcome from this event is attributed to the preparation and actions of the vessel operators to alert the Coast Guard with a VHF-FM radio,” said Capt. Greg Stump, commander, Sector San Francisco. “They quickly made a distress call for help, which allowed the Coast Guard enough time to respond. These sailors were prepared for a disaster scenario, and their diligence to have personal floatation devices, a life raft and emergency locating beacon on board saved their lives.”

The Coast Guard reminds mariners to be prepared for emergencies while on the water.  Ensure that communications and life-saving equipment are operable and passengers are familiar with their actions in case of an emergency.  For more information on safe boating practices and complimentary vessel safety checks through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, visit the Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center at www.uscgboating.org.

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