Emergency beacon, floatation devices save 2 lives

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Miami – A personal locator beacon, life jacket and an inflatable seat cushion likely saved the lives of two people who were rescued by a Coast Guard aircrew after their boat sank, stranding them in the Atlantic Ocean Sunday.

At 11:03 a.m. Sunday watchstanders in the Coast Guard 7th District command center in Miami received an electronic distress signal from a registered PLB plotting 20 nautical miles east of Miami.

Using information from the PLB’s registration, watchstanders determined the vessel in distress was a 22-foot yellow catamaran with two people aboard. Watchstanders immediately directed the launch of an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Miami.

When the aircrew arrived on scene, the Coast Guardsmen spotted both people in the water, using the life jacket and seat cushion for floatation, and hoisted them into the helicopter. The pair was taken to Air Station Miami. They declined medical treatment and reported no injuries.

The boaters stated their vessel completely sank.

The Coast Guard urges all boaters, especially those transiting offshore or to remote areas, to carry an Emergency Indicating Radio Beacon or a Personal Locator Beacon. EPRBS and PLBs save valuable time during maritime emergencies by transmitting electronic distress signals and GPS coordinates. When EPIRBs and PLBs are properly registered, they also provide first responders with owners’ contact information and vessel descriptions, which is vital information during search and rescue cases.

More information about EPIRBs is available on the Coast Guard Compass blog post What’s an EPIRB?

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