Warm weather keeps Coast Guard busy

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – Coast Guard Sector Northern New England here was busy conducting multiple operations as warmer temperatures increased boating activity in New England waters this past weekend.

“So far this weekend we have already seen 10 cases,” said Cmdr. Phillip Thorne, the chief of response for Sector Northern New England. “Half of these cases involved disabled, grounded or overdue vessels.”

About 15 nautical miles off the Portland coast on June 13, a person aboard a pleasure boat was experiencing chest pains, but was unable to establish communications with the Coast Guard due to a possible radio malfunction. A nearby fishing vessel notified the Coast Guard of the situation. The Maine Marine Patrol and Coast Guard worked together to get him to medical care.

Also on June 13, the sector received a report of an overdue pleasure boat in Vinalhaven, Maine. A Coast Guard Station Rockland boat crew and Good Samaritans searched the area for about two hours until the boat was found at a local marina.

“These cases highlight why we stress that boaters not only need to wear their lifejackets, but leave a trip itinerary with someone ashore and carry multiple means of communication,” said Thorne.

Boating operations are known to pick up during the traditional busy season between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when the warmer weather and summer vacations draw more activity to the water. The sector typically sees 50 percent of their yearly cases occur during this time.

So far this year, the sector has responded to more than 200 calls for assistance on the water, ranging from disabled vessels to vessels taking on water or sinking.

“State and local agencies continue to share a strong partnership with the Coast Guard and provide a great deal of assistance to operations on the water,” said Thorne.

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