KODIAK, Alaska — Three overdue boaters returned to Chenega Bay on their own Sunday and a Coast Guard lead search for them has been called off.
The Chenega Bay village public safety officer contacted the Coast Guard late Sunday afternoon to report that the three boaters had walked back to the village after their 17-foot skiff, Miller Time, reportedly overturned and they made it to shore on Evans Island.
The boaters left Chenega Bay en route to Shelter Bay to go fishing Saturday and were reported overdue when they did not return Saturday evening. The Coast Guard received the overdue report late Sunday morning from the Alaska State Troopers prompting the launch of a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak, a rescue boat crew from Station Valdez and the Coast Guard Cutter Mustang from their homeport of Seward. These assets have been stood down.
“Alaska’s waters are unforgiving and fortune favors the prepared,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Lambert, an operations specialist and Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstander. “It’s recommended boaters dress for the weather, take communication devices and supplies with them and pay attention to weather forecasts.”
The Coast Guard also recommends boaters always file a float plan with a friend or family member to indicate the route of their voyage, a description of the vessel, the number of people aboard and the time they intend to return. Filing a float plan ensures responders are notified if you are overdue and provides them with detailed information that can aid searchers to find you faster.
Weather in the area of Chenega Bay was reportedly 23 mph winds with gust to 35 mph, 4-foot seas with snow and rain limiting visibility to about a quarter mile.