Float plan helps Coast Guard rescue four overdue boaters

CAXAMBAS PASS, Fla. – The Coast Guard rescued four overdue boaters from a 24-foot Aquasport approximately 25 miles off of Caxambas Pass, Fla., Sunday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a phone call from a concerned woman at approximately 8 p.m., Saturday. She stated that her husband and three of his friends had departed at 6 a.m. that day to fish and failed to return by 6 p.m., as described on his float plan.

Due to the float plan that was filed by one of the fishermen, the Coast Guard was able to identify the type of boat the men were in and search the areas they would be fishing in.

Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., launched a C-130 Hercules aircraft crew at approximately 11 p.m., to search the area identified on the float plan.

Once the Coast Guard plane was near the boaters in distress, one of the mariners shot off a flare.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Miami and a Coast Guard 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boat crew from Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach, Fla., launched to the scene.

Once on scene, the Dolphin helicopter crew was able to lower their rescue swimmer into the water to check the status of the four individuals. It was relayed that their boat was disabled and they were unable to get it started.

The Dolphin helicopter crew along with the rescue swimmer departed scene. The C-130 Hercules aircraft stayed on scene until the Coast Guard boat crew from Station Fort Myers Beach arrived.

At approximately 4 a.m., the station boat crew was able to help the four men get their boat started and escorted them to Marco Island Marina in Marco Island, Fla.

No injuries were reported.

“The successful rescue in this case was directly attributable to the mariners having filed a float plan and their carriage of safety flares, required equipment on recreational vessels,” said Capt. Sheryl Dickinson, Commander of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Fla.

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