WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Coast Guard rescued two people and their dog Tuesday after their boat began taking on water northeast of Wrightsville Beach.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center in Wilmington received a cellphone call from a mother and her son aboard a 19-foot Carolina Skiff at about 12:28 p.m., stating their boat was taking on water about two miles east of New Topsail Inlet.
The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Wrightsville Beach at approximately 12:35 p.m.
The Coast Guard crew had difficulty locating the distressed mariners due to a lack of VHF-marine radio contact and no specific position. The crew located the skiff approximately six miles east of New Topsail Inlet at about 3:58 p.m.
The Coast Guard took the mother, her son and their dog aboard the RB-M. They were brought to Station Wrightsville Beach at about 7:08 p.m. in good condition.
A SeaTow crew arrived on scene and towed the skiff to Wilmington.
“With no radio to call for help and no GPS on board, these mariners were depending solely on a cell phone,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Hafner, a Coast Guard crewman involved in the case. “When a call goes out over VHF-marine radio on Channel 16, we are able to determine a vessel’s location, but not with cell phone. The Coast Guard can’t stress enough the importance of having proper communication, navigation and life saving equipment on board. Even if you don’t plan on going far from shore, if your engine quits or something unexpected happens, you can find yourself in trouble very suddenly.”