Coast Guard in Alaska receives 23 distress calls, saves two lives, assists 33 in six days

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard in Alaska received 23 separate distress calls responding to or coordinating rescue efforts saving two lives and assisting 33 since Sunday.

Emergency distress calls ranged in distance from the Alaska Peninsula to Sitka consisting of two medevacs, two boat groundings, three reported vessel fires and one man reported overboard.

Sunday Sector Anchorage command center received a call on VHF channel 16 from the pleasure craft Trudy Spark stating they had struck a submerged object and were taking on water in vicinity of the northern entrance to Esther Passage. The Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast. The Alaska State Troopers responded within 20 minutes and transported all the people from the vessel to Whittier in the morning where the owner could work out a plan with commercial salvage. There were no reports of pollution.

Thursday Sector Anchorage received a call from the fishing vessel New Wave reporting a fire on board. The Coast Guard issued an UMIB. The crew aboard the New Wave confirmed no fire but reported the wires to the electrical panel were red hot and smoking. The wires were pulled which secured power and overheating problem. The New Wave got underway under own power and arrived safely in Whittier.

“Boaters should take precautions in verifying boating safety and survival equipment when going onto the waters in Alaska,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacques Castro, a situation and communications controller in the Sector Anchorage command center. “Alaska can be a beautiful place but an emergency can happen at any given moment and knowing what to do and who to contact when an emergency situation arises can help save your life.”

The Coast Guard reminds the boating community to stay safe by utilizing safe boating practices while on Alaska’s waterways.

Wearing a Coast Guard approved Personal Floatation Device is one of the most important safe boating practices you can follow. By Alaska state law children 13 years of age or younger must wear a PFD while on the water.

Marine VHF radios, cell phones, satellite phones, emergency position indicating radio beacons and personal locator beacons can all alert rescuers of an emergency situation. Safety equipment like flares, fire extinguishers, sound producing devices and filing float plans can also contribute to safety of life on Alaskan waters.

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