Man clinging to capsized vessel rescued by Coast Guard

Southeastern Coast Guard News
MIAMI — A man was rescued by a Coast Guard Station Miami smallboat crew after he was found clinging to his capsized boat Saturday Morning.

Coast Guard Sector Miami command center watchstanders received initial notification from Tow Boat U.S. that a MAYDAY call was heard over VHFM-Channel 16. Tow Boat U.S. reported they were able to communicate with the MAYDAY caller but with a weak signal. The caller stated that he was in the water holding on to his capsized vessel and had a handheld radio.

The Coast Guard launched a smallboat crew from Station Miami and a helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami. The helicopter crew found the man clinging onto his vessel 15 miles West of Bimini, Bahamas. The helicopter crew vectored in the boatcrew who safely rescued the man from water and transported him back to Station Miami, where local emergency medical services personnel were waiting.

“This case is a great example of the importance of having the proper safety equipment onboard your vessel and staying with your vessel if it capsizes,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Roberto Santos, sector Miami watchstander. “If this boater had not stayed with his vessel, or had he not had the handheld radio, it would have been increasingly difficult to find him. His safety equipment and actions played a huge role in saving his life today.”

The Coast Guard reminds boaters that having the necessary safety equipment onboard your vessel can save your life in the case of an emergency. While many boaters rely on cell phones for emergency communications on the water, VHF-FM radios are much more reliable in the marine environment and work in areas where cell phones sometimes don’t. When a mayday is broadcast over channel VHFM-Channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, multiple response agencies and other nearby boaters can hear the distress call and offer immediate assistance.

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