Coast Guard, good Samaritans rescue 11 boaters in Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska News
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Good Samaritans, with Coast Guard coordination, rescued 11 people from boating emergencies in four separate cases across Southern Alaska, Tuesday.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a mayday from the crew of the vessel Alaska Rose, that their vessel was on fire on the southwest side of Resurrection Bay with three people aboard. Good Samaritans quickly responded and transferred all personnel before the vessel became completely engulfed and sank. On-scene vessels reported a small sheen and very little debris. The boaters were safely transported to Seward.

In a separate case, Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a report from boaters on the vessel Poker Dogs, stating that they were taking on water in the vicinity of Port Wells with three people aboard. A good Samaritan nearby responded to the captain’s request for assistance and safely escorted the vessel back to Whittier.

Approximately four hours later, Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a report from a person on a 19-foot vessel, explaining that they were taking on water in the vicinity of Blackstone Bay with three people aboard. The operator was able to beach the vessel to prevent it from sinking. A good Samaritan overheard the initial call, responded and assisted in securing the vessel before transporting all three boaters to Whittier.

Coast Guard 17th District command center watchstanders in Juneau received a call on VHF-FM Channel 16 from boaters on the 26-foot fishing vessel Oracle after it became disabled due to an overheated engine with two people aboard. Coast Guard Sector Juneau issued a Marine Assistance Rescue Broadcast and placed the vessel on a 30-minute communications schedule. Good Samaritans aboard the fishing vessel Crista C responded and towed the Oracle safely to Haines.

“These are great examples of how anyone can make a big difference in keeping our mariners and waterways safe,” said Lt. j. g. Victoria Swinghamer, Sector Anchorage public affairs officer. “We encourage boaters to safely help one another in emergencies, but it’s even more important for boaters to help themselves by boating safe and planning ahead.”

Crews of good Samaritan vessels are often the first to arrive on scene and are critical in saving lives, especially in Alaska with its vast coastline and limited search and rescue facilities. Federal Statute, 46 USC 2304, requires a master to render assistance if they can do so without serious danger to their vessel or individuals aboard.

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