Coast Guard, partners rescue entangled 800-pound turtle off South Jersey

5th Coast Guard District News
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Crew members from Coast Guard Station Cape May and the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine rescued an approximately 800-pound leatherback turtle Saturday entangled in fishing gear 30 miles off South Jersey.

A good Samaritan aboard a recreational fishing boat spotted the distressed turtle and notified watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay.

A boat crew from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City transported a Marine Mammal Stranding Center crew member to the Station Cape May 45-foot Response Boat — Medium boat crew in the vicinity of Corson’s Inlet. They traveled 30 miles offshore to the GPS coordinates provided by the good Samaritan and located the entangled turtle.

Once on scene, the Station Cape May boat crew and the Marine Mammal Stranding Center crew member assessed the situation and worked to free the turtle from the fishing gear in which it was entangled.

“Everybody was excited,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nick Giannaris, the crewman who physically removed the entanglement from the turtle. “It was one of my better experiences being in the Coast Guard, just seeing the animal so close and helping marine life. Everyone was pretty energized about the whole experience.”

Station Cape May operates the Coast Guard’s newest small boat that boasts an improved design, new ergonomics, and enhanced safety features, making boat crews more effective in performing their multiple missions. The RB-M is part of the Coast Guard’s plan to standardize and revitalize its shore-based boat fleet.

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