Boaters in distress helped by fellow mariners

SAN DIEGO — Four boaters were towed safely back to San Diego after their 22-foot boat became disabled and began flooding 32 miles southwest of San Diego around 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009.

The boaters aboard the Gadget made a distress call to the Coast Guard on VHF-FM Channel 16 when they discovered their boat was disabled and flooding.

Coast Guard Sector San Diego launched a 33-foot rescue boat, and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Haddock to assist the boaters. An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast was issued, a repeating broadcast intended to alert nearby mariners of the boaters’ distress.

Meanwhile, crews of two boats in the area, the Andy J and the Fish-aholic, overheard the original distress call and responded to the location of the Gadget to assist them.

The Andy J’s crew took the Gadget into tow and the Fish-aholic remained alongside to assist.

The Coast Guard cutter and boat arrived on scene, and stayed with the vessel until they arrived in San Diego and the tow was taken over by a commercial salvage company.

“This is a great example of why it is so important to have a reliable VHF marine radio onboard your boat,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Justina Ord, an operations specialist at Sector. “The strong, clear transmission can be heard not only by the Coast Guard, but by other boaters close to your position as well.”

“We would like to thank the boaters aboard the Andy J and the Fish-aholic for acting as good samaritans and helping out their fellow mariners when they were in distress,” Ord said, “Many search-and-rescue cases have happy endings because of the selfless acts of good samaritans like these.”

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