Coast Guard Coordinates Rescue of Five

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – The Coast Guard dispatched a boat and a helicopter while coordinating the rescue of five people from a capsized canoe during the 2010 Catalina U.S. Championship Outrigger Canoe Race, about seven miles north of Avalon, Calif.

Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles – Long Beach watch standers received a call for help and issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast, dispatched a small boat from Station Los Angeles – Long Beach and a helicopter from Air Station Los Angeles. Watch standers also called Baywatch Avalon, Cabrillo, and Isthmus Harbor for assistance.

A nearby race safety vessel picked up all five people from the water, none of whom were wearing lifejackets at the time of the capsizing. Baywatch Avalon and the Coast Guard rescue helicopter arrived on-scene and were able to determine that the group was safe and did not require immediate medical attention.

All boaters and paddlers must remember how dangerous it is going out onto the water without a lifejacket on.

Although the Los Angeles area is known for is warm weather, the current water temperature is between 58-62 degrees Fahrenheit. A 2007 study by the Coast Guard found that in boating accidents that occurred in water under 59 F, 40 percent were fatal.

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  1. cheance says:

    As the Race Director I assure you that we take the safety of our paddlers very seriously, and that is why we have chaseboats accompanying each crew, as well as several EMTs’ on several other Safety vessels monitoring the race, we have safety at the front, middle and back of the pack, and radio contact with each and each canoe is equipped with the required number of lifejackets- our athletes are trained to recognize signs of hypothermia and respond to them when necessary.
    Im not sure how the radio information was relayed, but I feel pretty sure that the number of notified medical and life saving departments that responded was excessive. Not that we dont appreciate them and their efforts, we certainly do. But seeing as this is the frist Ive heard that we needed that much attention to a capsized canoe, I am pretty sure it wasnt necesary. Thank you

  2. cheance says:

    I just received additional information pertaining to this situation that the CG was called to. It was not an incident within the paramaters of our racing event. the race had concluded and this particular team was making an attemtp to tow their canoe back to Newport Saturday afternoon without alerting the Safety or Officials of the event. As it turned out they were not successful, and I do apprecaite that you were there to see to their safety- We would NOT have granted them our “permission” to return that afternoon as we are fully aware that conditions at that time of day do not make for safe crossing. I appreciate the attentiveness of GC and other baywatch teams that responded. And am now glad to have the full story, as yesterday I was baffled!

  3. M Vecchio says:

    As a boater and a member of the USCG Auxiliary who happened to be on the water in San Pedro channel when the events unfolded I can tell you that the crew of the overturned canoe came on the radio and called for a mayday in late afternoon, with wind and waves mounting and fog building. The entire boating public heard the CG watchstander skillfully try to assess the situation and be told that the boat had capsized, sunk and that 5 people were I’m the water with NO lifejackets 6 miles out of Avalon. Confronted with that scenario any responder would have reacted with the full scope of available resources. At that point it was not clear or mentioned that the vessel in question was a canoe or that it was in any way part of the racing event. I appreciate your clarification, but there is no question in my mind that the CG and other responders acted with extreme professionalism.