A Coast Guard Station Honolulu 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew escorted the vessel under its own auxiliary power into Keehi Lagoon from just off Honolulu, following a multiday tow beginning 450 miles northeast of Oahu by good Samaritans aboard the fishing vessel Capt. Kenneth and then the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard command center in Honolulu received an International Emergency Response Coordination Center relayed report of an SOS activation from a GPS device registered to the master of the Honey Cutter at 11:43 a.m. Wednesday. The initial message indicated the vessel had suffered a keel fracture and was taking on water at a rate of 2 gallons per hour. On board pumps were keeping up with the flooding.
“The use of a properly registered GPS device, like an emergency position indicating radio beacon, alerted the search and rescue system to this crew’s distress situation and allowed us to identify them quickly and develop a response plan to get them back to land safely,” said Lt. Kevin Cooper, of the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center.
The watchstanders immediately identified available resources to assist the Honey Cutter including good Samaritans aboard the fishing vessel 77-foot Capt. Kenneth, 80 miles from the sailing vessel, and a Navy P-3 Orion crew based on Oahu.
The Orion crew arrived on scene at 5 p.m. Wednesday, established contact with the Honey Cutter crew and remained on scene until the arrival of the good Samaritans.
Upon arrival, the Capt. Kenneth crew took the Honey Cutter in tow shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday and travelled partway to Honolulu before being relieved of the tow by the Galveston Island crew Thursday. The Capt. Kenneth returned to fishing.
Weather on scene was reported as 6-foot seas and winds of 20 mph. The Honey Cutter is a 36-foot vessel. The crew was on a voyage from Hawaii to San Diego.
It’s essential to be ready with multiple methods of communication, a means to keep the vessel afloat, and the equipment to safely abandon ship if necessary when making long distance voyages. We also recommend filing a float plan with friends or family detailing your voyage that can provide as much information as possible to responder in the event a search is warranted.