Coast Guard rescues four boaters in Sawmill Bay

JUNEAU, Alaska – A Coast Guard 25-foot response boat crew from Station Valdez rescued four boaters aboard a 22-foot aluminum jet boat after Sector Anchorage received a relayed distress call from a crewmember aboard a nearby vessel reporting they were in need of immediate assistance 14 miles west of Valdez at the entrance of Sawmill Bay Sunday at 2:56 p.m.

Sector Anchorage communications watchstanders received a VHF distress relay from a crewmember aboard the recreational vessel Dawn Treader, reporting the jet boat was drifting due to a loss of electrical power and the four aboard were unsure of their exact location.

The four boaters aboard the jet boat were located at 4:49 p.m. by the response boat crew with the assistance of recreational vessels Dawn Treader, Oosik and Sea Fox who were able to narrow the search area to Sawmill Bay. They were safely towed by the response boat crew to Valdez Harbor Sunday afternoon.

No injuries were reported.

“It is critical that all mariners have knowledge concerning the area they are operating within,” said Chief Petty Officer Thad Wagner, officer in charge of Station Valdez. “If a boater becomes faced with a distress situation, being able to describe their exact location either through geographical position or with GPS coordinates will ensure help can reach them as quickly as possible.”

Filing a float plan is another vital component to assist locating a boater in distress. Float plans outline your voyage by documenting times and locations of departure and expected arrival, number and ages of people aboard, vessel description, safety equipment and much more. A copy should be left on the dashboard of your vehicle, visible from the outside as well as with a responsible party in which you keep in regular contact. They should be instructed that in the event your vessel does not arrive as planned, to contact the Sector Anchorage command center at (866) 396-1361.

More information concerning boating emergency preparation is available at the Coast Guard’s boating safety website:

http://www.uscgboating.org/

An example of a float plan can be found at http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/fedreqs/saf_float.htm

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