Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders received a report at approximately 4:30 p.m. Sunday, stating a man ran aground in a 15-foot skiff north of Jamestown Island on Back River.
Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders issued several maritime assistance request broadcasts, but no mariners were able to assist. The man in the grounded skiff decided to wait until high tide to see if his boat would refloat. After high tide at approximately 4:45 a.m. Monday, he requested assistance, stating he was unable to free the skiff.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, launched at approximately 5:30 a.m. The crew arrived on scene, lowered a rescue swimmer and hoisted the man to the helicopter. He was taken to Williamsburg Airport, evaluated by local EMS and released in good condition.
“Thankfully this man was able to reach us despite not having a VHF marine radio on board,” said Capt. Christopher Keane, Sector Hampton Roads Commander. “Cell phones are important tools, but mariners should not rely solely on cell phones to reach the Coast Guard. When a boat runs aground and the sun goes down, boaters can find themselves in dangerous situations with no way to call for help once their cell phones lose battery power or find themselves outside of cell phone range.”