Coast Guard responds to disabled sailing vessel southeast of Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A Coast Guard crew aboard the Cutter Matinicus escorted two people aboard a disabled 56-foot U.S. flagged sailing vessel to safe harbor in Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, Thursday.

Good Samaritans aboard the motor vessel Saxonia Express received a distress call from the sailing vessel Perfect Ride via VHF radio Wednesday. The good Samaritans contacted controllers at the Sector San Juan Command Center to report the sailing vessel was disabled with engine problems and a damaged mast about 160-miles southeast of Puerto Rico.

The Matinicus crew responded and escorted the disabled vessel to Christiansted Thursday night.

Boating Safety Tips:

  • Boaters are reminded to equip their vessels with safety equipment, be mindful of state boating laws, and be courteous to fellow boaters while operating on the water.
  • There should be a personal flotation device on the vessel for each person, sized accordingly.
  • Boaters should have flares and are encouraged to have an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) with 406 MHz capabilities to enable a faster response by the Coast Guard in the event of an emergency.
  • Boaters should have an operational marine VHF radio on their boat in order to contact the Coast Guard on channel 16, in the event an emergency. Due to the high mountainous areas throughout the region, boaters should not rely on their cell phones as a means of communication. In order to expedite the Coast Guard’s response in an emergency, mariners should have a GPS unit onboard or, at a minimum, maintain a knowledge of local waters and know their location at all times. The Coast Guard reminds radio operators that VHF channel 16 is an emergency channel and that improper transmission on channel 16 not only hampers Coast Guard response, but is punishable under federal law.
  • The Coast Guard strongly recommends that all boaters file a float plan with a friend or family member on land, with an approximate time of return and location to which you will be heading. It is also recommended that you regularly check in with those who are aware of your plan, especially if your plan should change.
  • Mariners should check current and forecasted weather conditions prior to getting underway, and remain aware of changing conditions once on the water. The National Weather Service broadcasts weather conditions throughout the day on VHF channel WX2. The Coast Guard broadcasts weather conditions on VHF channel 22A. Current weather information and advisories can be found on the National Weather Service website. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/zone/west/mtrmz.htm.
  • It is against the law for anyone to operate a vessel under the influence of alcohol. Consumption of alcohol by anyone else aboard is also strongly discouraged.

Prior to taking to the water, boaters are encouraged to go to http://uscgboating.org/ for more complete information on safe boating. The Coast Guard also highly recommends boaters get a free vessel-safety inspection from the Coast Guard Auxiliary. More information on these inspections can be found at http://www.vesselsafetycheck.org/. A few minutes now could save a life later.

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