Coast Guard rescues 5 boaters off San Diego coast

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SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard rescued four adults and a 15-year-old boy after their 30-foot boat started taking on water approximately 17 miles west of Point Loma, Saturday.

Mariners aboard the vessel PMS Escape II called the Coast Guard on channel 16, the international distress frequency, using a handheld radio at 5:58 p.m., to report their pleasure boat had lost propulsion, was taking on water, listing heavily on its port side and had no battery power to operate its bilge pumps or other electronics. They also ignited a flare to signal surrounding boaters.

The crew of a 45-foot Response Boat from Coast Guard Station San Diego work to dewater a 30-foot pleasure boat off the coast of San Diego, Aug. 30, 2014. Mariners aboard the vessel PMS Escape II called the Coast Guard on channel 16, the international distress frequency, using a handheld radio at 5:58 p.m., to report their pleasure boat had lost propulsion, was taking on water, listing heavily on its port side and had no battery power to operate its bilge pumps or other electronics. (U.S. Coast Guard photo.)

The crew of a 45-foot Response Boat from Coast Guard Station San Diego work to dewater a 30-foot pleasure boat off the coast of San Diego, Aug. 30, 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard photo.)

A Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, a 45-foot Response Boat crew from Coast Guard Station San Diego, and the Coast Guard Cutter Petrel crew were dispatched to assist the disabled vessel. The Sector’s Joint Harbor Operations Center also issued an urgent marine information broadcast to alert other mariners in the area.

A good Samaritan aboard the pleasure craft Jawbreaker responded to the broadcast and went to aid the PMS Escape II. The Jawbreaker waited on scene with the stricken vessel until the Coast Guard arrived.

The aircrew lowered a dewatering pump to the vessel and crew members from the 45-foot Response Boat went onboard with an additional pump to assist with the flooding. Once the flooding was under control, the Coast Guard crew was able to determine the flooding was due to a faulty fitting on the starboard side of the vessel’s engine room.

Coast Guard Cutter Petrel embarked four of the mariners from the PMS Escape II and took the vessel in tow with its master still aboard and minding the helm. A commercial towing company relieved the Coast Guard of the tow approximately five miles west of Point Loma and will deliver the vessel to Marina Cortes in San Diego.

All five people were wearing life jackets.

“Being prepared makes a huge difference when you’re out on the water,” said Capt. Jonathan Spaner, the Sector San Diego commander. “These boaters had life jackets, a back up radio, signaling devices and knew to call the Coast Guard when they couldn’t keep up with the flooding. Being prepared can sometimes be the difference between life and death.”

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