Coast Guard rescues 3 from sinking Sea Cat

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Coast Guard rescued three people after their boat began to take on water approximately 1.5 miles east of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Sunday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a 911 relay from the Pinellas County Dispatch at approximately 1:18 p.m., regarding three people in distress after their 22-foot Sea Cat began to take on water. The owner of the vessel called 911 from his cell phone.

The Coast Guard Cutter Hawk, homeported here, was diverted to the scene from a patrol along with a 25-foot small response boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg.

Once on scene, the crew of the Hawk was unable to locate the persons in distress. Watchstanders from Sector St. Petersburg directed the 25-foot small response boat crew to conduct a search of the surrounding area.

The 25-foot small response boat crew found the three people in the water clinging to their boat, which had drifted with the current approximately 1.5 miles east of their first location.

The Sea Cat submerged with only had 4-feet of its bow exposed.

The three people were pulled into the small boat safely and taken to O’Neills Marina in St. Petersburg.

Ramon Garza, a 66-year old male and the owner/operator of the Sea Cat has made arrangements with a local company to salvage the vessel.

No injuries or pollution were reported.

All three persons in distress were wearing their lifejackets.

The Coast Guard reminds all boaters that in the event of a maritime emergency, the use of a float plan, VHF radio, life jackets and an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon are critical on the waterways. Check weather conditions before going out and be prepared.

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