With Parents Overboard, Teen Calls Coast Guard for Help

BARNEGAT, N.J. (D5 Public Affairs) – The Coast Guard and a commercial salvage crew rescued two parents today after the couple fell off their boat and were separated from their children in Little Egg Harbor here.

Rescued were Phillip Skrzat, 45, and Stacy Skrzat, 42, both of Telford, Pa.

The Coast Guard received a call from Cary Skrzat, the couple’s 16-year-old daughter, at 2:11 p.m. today reporting that her parents had fallen off their 25-foot boat and had drifted out of sight. The couple’s four children remained aboard the boat.

While Cary was unaware of her location when she made the distress call, the Coast Guard used a direction-finding system called Rescue 21 to locate the boat based off the radio signal.

A rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, and a rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light, N.J., launched to search for the missing couple and to assist the children.

A nearby commercial salvage crew from TowBoat U.S. overheard the call, arrived on scene, located and pulled the couple to safety and towed the boat to Cedar Cove Marina in Tuckerton, N.J.

“Rescue 21 saved some lives today,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Kyle Gerkens, the search and rescue coordinator who coordinated the search.

It is unclear how the couple fell into the water, but it was reported the boat’s engine was disabled at the time of the incident.

Rescue 21 is a newly-established search and rescue and command and control system, leveraging 21st century technology to boost search and rescue capabilities and better protect the nation’s coastal waterways and ports.

The advanced Rescue 21 system offers:

  • Direction-finding capability
  • Reduction of coverage gaps along the coast
  • Enhanced playback capability improving clarity of calls
  • Digital archiving of calls
  • Increased, simultaneous channel monitoring capacity

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