Three overdue boaters found safe

A Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft

USCG file photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Three overdue boaters were found safe at about 11:30 a.m. 20 miles west of Clearwater on Saturday.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., HC-130 Hercules air crew found Gilbert A. Gastineau, 69, from Orlando, Fla., Ken Harper, from Colorado, and Randy Waldorf, from Colorado, on the overturned hull of Gastineau’s 23-foot fishing boat ,Schools Out.

A crew from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were able to pull the men from the overturned hull to safety aboard their vessel at about 12 p.m.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg were notified at approximately 7:35 p.m. Friday by Gastineau’s son-in-law when the three men didn’t return as expected from a fishing trip. They departed from the Seminole Boat Ramp in Clearwater and were to be fishing 40 miles west of Clearwater to return at sunset.

“This case demonstrates the importance of filing a float plan,” said Capt. Sheryl Dickinson, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg commander. “Mr. Gastineau’s family was able to give us detailed information that has led to the successful rescue of these three men.”

The three men will be brought to Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg on the Coast Guard Cutter Hawk, an 87-foot patrol boat, where they will be evaluated by EMS.

The Coast Guard recommends all boaters to always wear lifejackets, file a float plan, carry a VHF marine radio and have an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon every time they get underway.

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