Coast Guard rescues boater who was adrift over 13 hours west of Clearwater Beach

Coast Guard crew members from Station Sand Key, Florida conclude a tow Monday, March 6, 2017 at the Clearwater Marina, Florida. The boat crew towed the disabled sailboat after rescuing a boater who was adrift 18 miles west of Clearwater Beach since March 5. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard crew members from Station Sand Key, Florida conclude a tow Monday, March 6, 2017 at the Clearwater Marina, Florida. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Coast Guard rescued a boater Monday 18 miles west of Clearwater Beach after his sailboat’s engine and rudder failed, rendering the boat disabled and adrift since Sunday evening.

Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg Command Center watch standers received a call at about 10:55 p.m. Sunday from a concerned family member who stated his son was overdue. The father said his son departed Hudson at 7 a.m. Sunday en route to Palmetto. He last spoke with his son via cell phone at 6:30 p.m. Sunday when his son stated he was dealing with engine problems near Hurricane Pass.

At approximately 11:05 p.m. Sunday watch standers launched air crews aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater and a boat crew aboard 45-foot Response Boat – Medium (RBM) from Coast Guard Station Sand Key.

The Hercules air crew spotted the disabled and adrift sailboat at approximately 8:30 a.m. Monday.

The Jayhawk crew arrived on scene and lowered a rescue swimmer with a radio to assess the situation and to establish communications. The RBM boat crew arrived on scene, took the boater aboard the RBM and towed the sailboat to Clearwater Marina.

No injuries were reported.

“This case was a prime example of fantastic teamwork between our Command Center, Station Sand Key and Air Station Clearwater,” said Chief Petty Officer William Wells, a command duty officer at Sector St. Petersburg. “This could have quickly turned into a dangerous situation. Fortunately, we were able to locate this boater before any serious health and safety concerns became an issue.”

The Coast Guard reminds mariners to carry all required safety gear, including an emergency position-indicating radio beacon and to have a float plan before getting underway. For a list of recommend safety gear and other important boating tips, please  click here.

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