Coast Guard saves 4 after charter fishing boat hits Ashtabula breakwall

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND – Coast Guardsmen from Station Ashtabula, Ohio, rescued four people after the charter fishing boat they were aboard struck a breakwall in Ashtabula Harbor Monday morning.

A passing vessel used a VHF-FM marine radio to notify personnel in the Coast Guard Sector Buffalo command center of the accident at 4:45 a.m.

A boatcrew from Station Ashtabula immediately launched in a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boat and five minutes later arrived at the site of the accident, where they found the captain and three passengers aboard the vessel, Sweet Fish, in their life jackets.

The boatcrew brought the three men, ages 66, 53, and 24 and woman, 48, aboard the SPC-LE and took them to a public dock in Ashtabula, where emergency medical technicians were waiting. EMTs evaluated the woman, who complained of head, neck, back and foot injuries, and transported her to a local hospital for further evaluation. The three men refused medical treatment.

Coast Guardsmen from Marine Safety Unit Cleveland are on scene with the vessel to investigate the cause of the accident. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will also be assisting with the investigation.

This accident is the third time in one week a vessel has struck a breakwall in Lake Erie. Click HERE for a press release following an accident in Lake Erie Tuesday which resulted in a woman’s death.

“We can’t stress enough how important it is for boaters to be familiar with the areas where they’re operating, especially in times of low light or limited visibility,” said Lt. Thomas Pequignot of the Coast Guard Sector Buffalo incident management division. “Navigating by sight alone, without the help of nautical charts and other navigation equipment, is incredibly risky and puts everyone aboard in danger.”

Charter operators carrying passengers for hire are required to possess a Coast Guard license. When an individual who possesses a Coast Guard license is involved in a marine accident, the Coast Guard normally investigates. Based on the investigation findings, the Coast Guard determines whether any action is appropriate to take against the individual’s license.

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