Coast Guard Auxiliary rescues woman clinging to channel marker for 7 hours

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A 31-year-old woman was rescued by the Coast Guard Auxiliary after she was spotted clinging to a channel marker near Matanzas Pass, Fla., Wednesday.

The boatcrew from Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 91 was on a routine patrol when they located the woman, removed her from the marker and brought her aboard at 7:43 a.m.

The woman reported she went swimming at approximately 10 p.m., Tuesday, off of Bowditch Point. After about an hour, she was swept away and forced to cling to the Matanzas Pass marker for seven hours.

The woman showed signs of hypothermia and was immediately transferred to EMS who took her to HealthPark Medical Center.

“With many tourists in the area for the holidays, it is imperative they check the weather and get familiar with tidal patterns before entering unfamiliar waters,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Ronnie Leavell, operations unit controller at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “Weather can deteriorate quickly putting boaters and swimmers in harms way.”

Established by Congress in 1939, the Coast Guard Auxiliary consists of more than 30,000 members and is a unique force that carries out an array of responsibilities. The Auxiliary’s primary mission is recreational boater safety, but they also ensure the safety and security of citizens, ports, waterways and coastal regions, as directed by the Coast Guard.

For more information about Flotilla 91, click here.

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