Coast Guard rescues man attempting transatlantic rowboat voyage

Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Thornton, a Surfman at Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light, poses for a photo with Duncan Hutchison, Monday, June 4, 2018. A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat (MLB) crew from Station Barnegat Light launched to respond and rescued Duncan after he became beset by weather about 20 miles east of Barnegat Light, New Jersey. U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo

Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Thornton, a Surfman at Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light, poses for a photo with Duncan Hutchison, Monday, June 4, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo

PHILADELPHIA — A Coast Guard boat crew rescued a man from a rowboat about 20 miles east of Barnegat Light on Monday morning.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay received notification at about 11:20 p.m. via VHF-FM channel 16 from the operator of the rowboat Sleipnir that it was beset by bad weather while attempting a transatlantic voyage from New York to Scotland.

A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat (MLB) crew from Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light launched to respond, and an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast was issued.

The weather on-scene was reported to be 21 mph winds and 8.5 foot seas.

Once on scene, the Coast Guard boat crew removed the 52-year-old man from the rowboat and transferred him to the MLB.

“It was great to use my skills as a Surfman to navigate the heavy seas and wind, and my crew did an outstanding job making this a successful rescue,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Thornton, the coxswain on the MLB. “We highly recommended always checking the weather before departing on any ocean excursion because conditions can change instantly. Thankfully the operator was well prepared and hailed us on his VHF marine radio on channel 16. We were able to pinpoint his location by using our Rescue 21 radio system, and that saved his life.”

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