Coast Guard rescues 12 during first leg of Water Tribe Everglades Challenge near Englewood, Fla.

A new 33-foot special purpose craft, law enforcement boat from Coast Guard Station South Padre Island, Texas, speeds through the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The new boats have a top speed of over 50 knots and are intended to enhance the station's law enforcement capabilities USCG photo by PA2 Adam EggersST. PETERSBURG – The Coast Guard saved 12 people from the water during the Water Tribe Everglades Challenge near Englewood, Florida, Saturday.

Approximately 135 boats of various sizes and more than 240 people took part in the small-craft regatta, which started in Tampa Bay, Florida, and was scheduled to end in Key Largo, Florida. The event was terminated by the Coast Guard due to numerous cases of people capsizings, people with various stages of hyperthermia and the weather on scene deteriorating.

The Coast Guard terminated the event at the first check point at Cape Haze Marina in Englewood and continued to remain on scene until everyone was safely out of the water.

“We always want people to have fun on the water, we just want them to be safe doing it,” said Chief Warrant Officer Rob Swanson, a search and rescue coordinator at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “We can’t stress enough how important it is to always be safe out there. The sea is unforgiving.”

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