VMRC helps Coast Guard locate overdue boater in Tangier Harbor

USCG Cutter Albacore File Photo

BALTIMORE – Rescuers located a man reported to be overdue from Somers Cove Marina in Crisfield, Md., Monday.

Located was Albert Casale, 56, from Millsboro, Del.

Casale’s wife contacted Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, reporting that her husband, who had planned to go out rock fishing Saturday aboard Nemo, his 30-foot sailboat, did not return as expected.

Sector Baltimore watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast, conducted call outs on channel 16 and contacted local marinas in an attempt to locate Casale. After contacting Somers Cove Marina, watchstanders discovered that Casale’s vessel was not in its slip and that his vehicle was still in the marina parking lot.

At approximately 7:20 p.m. Coast Guard 5th District watchstanders in Portsmouth, Va., coordinated with Casale’s cell phone carrier to establish a position based on the last call made to Casale’s cell phone. The position was determined to be west of Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

A 25-foot Response Boat-Small crew from Coast Guard Station Crisfield along with an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., as well as the Coast Guard Cutter Albacore, based in Virginia Beach, Va. began searching the area Sunday evening.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. a Virginia Marine Resources Commission officer contacted Station Crisfield watchstanders reporting that he found a vessel in the Tangier Harbor matching the description of Casale’s sailboat.

A Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City and an RB-S from Station Crisfield were then diverted to Tangier Harbor. Coast Guard assets arrived on scene, established contact with Casale and found him not be in distress. Casale reported that he had lost cell phone reception and was unaware that the Coast Guard was looking for him.

“The most important thing a mariner can do is leave some kind of float plan with someone,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Viscuso, a crewmember from Station Crisfield. “A float plan is information you leave someone explaining the intended route, where they’re leaving from, what time they will be back and where they might be going. If we have a float plan, it gives us something to start with when searching for an overdue boater.”

Click here for more information on float plans.

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