Coast Guard, cruise ship rescue boaters 386 miles off Alabama

AMVER FlagNEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard and the cruise ship Carnival Valor rescued three boaters aboard a vessel taking on water 386 miles offshore Alabama, Sunday.

Coast Guard District Eight watchstanders received an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) alert at 7:22 a.m. from the 44-foot recreational vessel Snail Mail. Watchstanders contacted the owner of the Snail Mail who stated they were shoreside, but in contact with the three boaters aboard the Snail Mail via a SPOT GPS device and confirmed the Snail Mail was taking on water.

Using the automated mutual-assistance vessel rescue system (AMVER) to survey the area around the Snail Mail for nearby commercial vessels, watchstanders identified and directed the Carnival Valor to assist the distressed vessel. Meanwhile, watchstanders also coordinated the launch of an Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew to assist.

The Ocean Sentry aircrew located the Snail Mail and vectored the Carnival Valor to its location. The cruise ship arrived on scene, launched their rescue boat, rescued all three boaters, and transferred them back to the ship to be medically evaluated by the ship’s doctor.

All three boaters were last reported to be in stable condition.

“Special thanks to the crew of the Carnival Valor for rescuing all three people aboard the sinking vessel,” said Lt. j.g. Gretchen Gochnour, a command duty officer at the District Eight Command Center. “The Coast Guard urges the boating public to emulate the Snail Mail by having an EPIRB and geolocating devices onboard before taking to the sea. Moreover, the Coast Guard encourages commercial mariners to participate in AMVER and self-report their location as this played a pivotal role in this rescue.”

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