Coast Guard aids disabled boater off Catalina Island

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – The Coast Guard aided a man with a disabled 35-foot boat, taking on water, Monday night at approximately 7 p.m., near Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island, Calif.

Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Command Center personnel received a dispatched 911 call for help around 6 p.m., reporting a disabled vessel taking on water.

The boat did not possess a marine-band radio or a GPS system; the man was only able to communicate with 911 personnel by cell phone. The cell phone was used to locate the last know position.

A 45-foot Response Boat from Coast Guard Station Los Angeles-Long Beach and a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles along with Baywatch vessels launched to assist in locating the vessel.

Station Los Angeles was able to take the disabled vessel in tow and assisted the man to the nearest safe harbor in Avalon.

Cell phones tend to have gaps in coverage while on the water, plus limited battery life. Many VHF marine radios are now water resistant and are even waterproof. While boaters may feel safe with just a cell phone, the Coast Guard recommends marine-band radios set to channel 16 for boaters in distress to be able to quickly call for help.

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