Coast Guard Cutter Halibut medically evacuates sailor attempting to transit from Santa Barbara to Hawaii

SANTA BARBARA, Calif – Late yesterday afternoon the Coast Guard dispatched a rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air-Station Los Angeles and an 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter after receiving a distress call from a solo sailor on a 25 foot sailboat who was transiting from Santa Barbara to Hawaii. In the radio call for help the sailor indicated he had been awake for 36 hours and was having medical issues. Before the sailor’s position could be determined radio contact was lost.

Despite losing radio contact the Coast Guard rescue helicopter was able to locate the sailor about 10 nautical miles southwest of Santa Rosa Island. After making contact with the sailor the helicopter crew instructed him to proceed to a designated location to rendezvous with the Cutter Halibut that was en route from Santa Barbara, about 69 nautical miles away.

Once on scene CGC Halibut escorted the sailor to the nearest harbor, about 5 miles away for mooring. The sailboat did not have an auxiliary engine and with winds gusting to 35 knots inside the harbor the Halibut was forced to launch its small boat and tow the sailboat to a safe mooring. The sailor was taken aboard the Halibut and transported to Santa Barbara for medical treatment.

Last month CGC Halibut performed a similar rescue of a solo sailor traveling from Hawaii to Santa Barbara. In that case the sailor’s boat became disabled about 100 miles offshore.

The Coast Guard urges boaters whether they are on day trip in coastal waters or on an extended trip to file a Float Plan ( with a responsible party. If the boater will be beyond the range of VHF marine communications alternate means of reliable communications must be considered, such as a satellite telephone. It is also highly recommend that the boat be equipped with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs).

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