Missing sailboat found safe by good Samaritan fishing vessel

KODIAK, Alaska - The Coast Guard is searching for the 36-foot sailing vessel Eagle Borne in the northern Gulf of Alaska and Prince William Sound May 20, 2011. This is a photo of the vessel provided by the family. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Heins family.

Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Heins family.


ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Through the vigilance of a fishing vessel crew, the Eagle Borne, a 36-foot blue-hulled wooden sailing vessel, was found safe in Macloed Harbor off of Montague Island Friday.

A concerned relative notified the Coast Guard at 11 a.m. that Grady, 24, and Spencer Heins, 20, had not pulled into Yakutat or Cordova according to their intended float plan. The reporting source indicated the Heins brothers might have been delayed due to bad weather in the area.

The Coast Guard launched a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak-based HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew to search for the two men and issued and urgent marine information broadcast asking mariners in area to be vigilant and report any information about the Eagle Borne to the Coast Guard.

The fishing vessel crew who spotted the missing sailboat, checked on the Heins brothers and then relayed to their employer that the brothers were safe and avoiding bad weather. The fishing vessel employer called and alerted the Coast Guard about the brothers at 4:05 p.m.

“With the remote environment we deal with in Alaska the Coast Guard relies heavily on the attentiveness the mariners have for each other in cases like today’s,” said Petty Officer 1st Class David Lebrecht, 17th District Command Center search and rescue controller. “When mariners respond to our urgent marine information broadcasts it saves resource time to assist others in peril.”

As warmer weather begins to sweep across Alaska, the Coast Guard reminds all boaters to be prepared for emergencies by ensuring that they have proper safety equipment like a VHF marine radio, an emergency position indicating radio beacon, lifejackets, flares, fire extinguishers and all boaters should file a float plan.

A float plan outlines a boater’s itinerary by writing down times and locations of departure and expected arrivals, number and ages of people aboard, health concerns, equipment, the vessel’s description and much more.A float plan should be given to family, friends and the harbormaster. The responsible party in charge of your float plan should be instructed to contact the closest Coast Guard station in the event you do not return as expected.

Many search and rescue cases could be resolved quickly if boaters would use float plans. Voyages are often delayed due to weather. A plan allows Coast Guard personnel to narrow search areas and potentially find boaters faster. Once the boater is found, Coast Guard personnel can render assistance or advise family members you are delayed but safe.

The Heins brothers anticipate resuming their voyage to Juneau on Saturday.

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