At 1:42 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a ‘mayday’ call via Ch. 16 from a 24-year-old male and a 25-year-old male stating that their 16-foot Hobie Cat recreational craft had capsized and that they were in need of immediate assistance.
At 1:55 p.m., Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg launched a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew to the scene.
Once on scene at 2:07 p.m., the crew was able to safely recover both persons from the water.
Crewmembers from Eckerd SAR responded, were able to re-right the Hobie Cat and took it in tow.
Due to the shallow water depth, the two survivors were transferred to the Eckerd SAR vessel and taken back to shore.
The two men were able to contact the Coast Guard due to the fact that they had brought hand-held radios on their trip.
No injuries were reported.
In an effort to reduce the number of incidents on the water and to increase the safety of people on the water, the Coast Guard recommends the following:
- Protect yourself against hypothermia and invest in a dry suit or other Coast Guard-approved full-body floatation survival gear. Although Gulf Coast water temperatures are still relatively warm during the end of summer, the threat of hypothermia is still great. The human body reacts to 50 to 60-degree water the same way as it does in 70 to 80-degree water with prolonged exposure. As soon as a person’s core body temperature drops below 95 degrees, hypothermia sets in and occurs 25 times faster in cold water than in cold air. A person in the water not wearing a life jacket can lose body heat from efforts to remain afloat. Once the shivering stops, the body is no longer able to heat itself, and the person can lose consciousness and drown.
- Be sure to check the local weather prior to departing the dock. Weather can change very rapidly and boaters should keep a watchful eye on the forecasted conditions.
- The Coast Guard urges mariners to outfit their boat with a functioning marine-band radio, as cell phones are typically an unreliable source of communication due to gaps in coverage and limited battery life. Using channel 16 on a marine-band radio is the most reliable way to communicate a distress to search and rescue personnel in the event of an emergency while on the water.
- Emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) provide boaters an excellent enhancement with regard to safety during an offshore voyage. In the event of an emergency, the beacon can transmit the boat’s position and other identifying information that will aid in expediting the rescue.