Boaters rescue demonstrates locator beacon effectiveness

rescuedCHARLESTON, S.C. — Five boaters are safe, Sunday, due in part to their use of an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, which helped the Coast Guard locate them approximately 62 miles east of Charleston.

No injuries have been reported and the boaters are in good condition.

Watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Charleston command center were notified of the situation by a “Mayday” call over VHF Channel 16 at 8:45 a.m. The initial report stated the operator of the boat was unable to determine his location and his 25-foot catamaran Morning Brite was capsized, sinking and that five people had entered the water. Watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast informing mariners of the situation.

Sector Charleston watchstanders then instructed the operator to activate his EPIRB. Watchstanders in the Coast Guard 7th District command center in Miami detected the signal and were able to pass along the distressed vessel’s coordinates.

Good Samaritans aboard the fishing vessel The Office responded to the UMIB and reported being in the vicinity of the search location. They diverted their course to render assistance. Upon arriving, the crew of The Office rescued the five survivors.

A crew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Coast Guard Station Charleston was launched to assist. The RBM crew rendezvoused with The Office crew and transferred the five survivors onto their boat. The RBM crew returned them to Remley’s Point boat ramp in Charleston.

“The possession and activation of the EPIRB provided an accurate position and narrowed down the search area and was a major factor in saving these boaters,” said Chief Warrant Officer Lee P. Heitner, a command duty officer in the Sector Charleston command center. “EPIRB’s and Personal Locating Beacons are available at most marine supply stores, or online, and send out a signal detected by satellites to help Coast Guard locate mariners in distress in rescues.”

For more information on EPIRB’s, visit:

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