Coast Guard rescues 4 Naples fishermen near Marco Island

Coast Guard District 7 NewsCLEARWATER, Fla. — The Coast Guard rescued four overdue Naples fishermen near Marco Island, Fla., Monday.

Search and rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Fla., were notified Monday at midnight by family members of four men who did not return as scheduled from a fishing trip.

According to the report, the men departed Sunday morning from Caxambas Pass boat ramp for a fishing trip 28 miles west of Marco Island aboard a 22-foot fishing boat. They were expected to return Sunday at 6 p.m.

Search and rescue coordinators launched surface and air assets to assist in the search. Crews from Customs and Border Protections and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also assisted in the search.

The four men were spotted about 8 a.m. Monday by a Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew. They were clinging to the hull of their capsized vessel and waving in distress 24 miles west of Marco Island near an Air Force Tower.

A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach, Fla., arrived on scene at approximately 8:45 a.m., located the four boaters, pulled them from the water and transported them to Caxambas Pass boat ramp. No injuries were reported.

“After a brief interview with the fishermen, it was determined their vessel capsized about 9:30 a.m., just three hours into their trip,” said Chief Petty Officer Harold Leboeuf, a search and rescue coordinator at Sector St. Petersburg. “This could have been much worse; the use of an Emergency Positioning-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or at the very least, a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), could have limited the time these four spent in the water.”

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 EPIRBs are critical to ensuring a swift rescue. For information on boating safety, please visit http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com.

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