Coast Guard assists vessel taking on water near Rigolets Pass

NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard responded to a vessel taking on water in Lake Borgne, La., Wednesday, approximately five miles south of Rigolets Pass.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a report from the Orleans Parish 911 Center at approximately 1 p.m., that a 16-foot silver bass boat with two people on board had called by cell phone to report that their vessel was taking on water.

The Coast Guard launched an MH-65C helicopter and crew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans and a 25-foot response boat (RB-S) and crew from Coast Guard Station New Orleans.

The MH-65C helicopter and crew located the vessel with both people on board and vectored the response boat to the scene. The vessel in distress was taking on water, but pumps on board were able to keep up with the ingress of water. The response boat escorted the vessel back to Rigolets Marina without further incident.

Ensuring boats are outfitted with functioning VHF-FM marine-band radios is important because it reduces the amount of time it takes get help on scene. In addition, marine-band radios allow watchstanders to use direction-finding equipment such as Rescue 21, and cell phones have limited battery life and gaps in coverage while on the water.

“The vessel in distress was operating in an area with limited cell phone coverage,” said Paul Barnard, operations unit controller, Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. “Calling out in distress on VHF-FM Channel 16 would have put them in direct contact with the Coast Guard.”

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