Coast Guard, good Samaritans rescue 5 people near Anclote, Indian Rocks Beach

Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 file photo

Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 file photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders and good Samaritans rescued five people, Saturday, in two separate incidents near Anclote and Indian Rocks Beach.

In the first incident, watchstanders received an urgent call via VHF-FM Channel 16 from a man who could not locate his two friends who were diving off his boat, about seven miles west of Anclote. The watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of a Station Sand Key small boat crew and an Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew. Two separate good Samaritan boat crews responded, located the divers, and brought them aboard their vessels.

In the second incident, St. Petersburg watchstanders received a ‘MAYDAY’ call over VHF-FM Channel 16 and a report from a boater who saw orange distress flares. The watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of a Station Sand Key small boat crew and an Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew.

The good Samaritan who saw the flares responded, and pulled the three people to safety from the capsized vessel, about 22 miles west of Indian Rocks Beach.

“Good Samaritans are incredibly great assets, especially in cases where the Coast Guard or other responders are not in the immediate area,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Haley, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg operations unit watchstander. “We are so grateful for the good news of these rescues today and the great work of these outstanding good Samaritans.”

With the conclusion of National Safe Boating Week, May 22-28, and an expected upcoming busy boating season, the Coast Guard is reminding all boaters of simple and effective ways to be safe on the water.

Having a marine radio and flares are critical pieces of equipment in times of distress. Other important tips for staying safe on the water include: always wear a life vest, file a float plan, and never boat under the influence. Mariners can find important resources on boater safety on the Coast Guard app and at https://www.uscgboating.org.

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