Coast Guard encourages use of emergency kits

KODIAK, Alaska – With National Safe Boating Week underway, the Coast Guard would like to encourage recreational boaters to carry an emergency kit on board their boat because circumstances change and being prepared can increase your chances of survival and being assisted.

A Coast Guard aircrew aboard an HC-130 Hercules training flight from Air Station Kodiak responded to the mayday call of a man operating a 19-foot aluminum pleasure craft in Harris Bay southwest of Seward Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. The man was disoriented and the vessel was low on fuel. The Hercules crew directed the man around islands into Resurrection Bay where a vessel from Miller’s Landing met the pleasure craft with gasoline at 10:51 p.m. and both vessels were safely moored in Seward by midnight.

This case illustrates the need for an emergency kit and the benefit of reliable communications tools. Should the operator have been unable to call the Coast Guard or commercial assistance he would have been lost on the water and possibly have run out of gas. It is important to have supplies on hand in the event that your return voyage is delayed or interrupted. An emergency kit provides basic tools and supplies to enable passengers to survive until they are assisted or rescued.

During the last week the Coast Guard responded to four disabled vessels around the state that required assistance due to various mechanical issues. In all of these cases the people aboard were assisted within hours by the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary or good Samaritans. It is recommended that you always prepare for the worst.

“Boating in an environment that is as vast and dynamic as Alaska, is imperative that all prudent boaters not only carry the required safety equipment but an emergency survival kit as well,” said Lt. j.g. Brian Beach, assistant operations officer on the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR. “Being prepared for the worst is your best contingency.”

An emergency kit should include extra food and water, a first aid kit, flash light, VHF hand-held radio, extra batteries, flares, simple tools and a registered emergency position indicating radio beacon or personal locator beacon. It’s also recommended that you dress for the weather and take extra clothing to protect against the elements.

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