Coast Guard and partners in Florida Keys respond to 15 cases in two hours

Coast Guard Sector Key West LogoKEY WEST, Fla. – The Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tow Boat U.S. and other partner agencies in the Florida Keys responded to 15 separate search and rescue cases in less than two hours when high winds and seas caught many boaters unprepared Thursday.

Between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., the Coast Guard Sector Key West Command Center responded to, among others, a capsized vessel with two people in the water near Islamorada, Fla.; a 40-foot catamaran with 31 people on board that ran aground and was taking on water near Cottrell Key, Fla.; and a sailing vessel with four persons on board that lost propulsion and drifted into the Channel Five Bridge between Craig Key, Fla. and Fiesta Key, Fla.

The Sector Key West Command Center, in operation 24-hours a day, is typically outfitted with a four-person watch team. At the height of the response, more than 15 personnel teamed up in the command center to manage the case load.

Multiple smallboat crews from Coast Guard Station Islamorada, Coast Guard Station Marathon, and Coast Guard Station Key West, a helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami, and numerous partner agency vessels were involved in the responses.

“The teamwork demonstrated today between our command center, response assets, and partner agencies was outstanding,” said Capt. Pat DeQuattro, Coast Guard Sector Key West commander. “The fact that each distressed boater was rescued, or otherwise assisted with no injuries or medical concerns, is a testament to the strength of our teamwork and outstanding partnerships in the Keys.”

The Coast Guard is currently still investigating the 40-foot catamaran aground near Cottrell Key.

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