Coast Guard rescues 2 men near Texas City

HOUSTON – The Coast Guard rescued two men onboard a disabled boat near the Texas City Dike, Texas early this morning.

A watchstander from Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a cell-phone call from the owner of a 16-foot ski boat at 6:32 p.m. Monday. The owner reported his boat was disabled and anchored a quarter mile from the Texas City Dike.

Coast Guard Air Station Houston launched an HH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew and Station Galveston dispatched a rescue boat crew to assist the ski-boat. More than an hour into the search the owner could no longer be reached via his cell phone.

At 11:51 p.m. Monday a passing tug reported sighting a disabled boat near light 48 in the Houston Ship Channel. The watchstander at Sector Houston directed the rescue boat to the location. The rescue boat crew arrived on scene and confirmed that it was the missing ski-boat and the two men were onboard with no injuries. The ski-boat was towed to the Texas City boat ramp.

The Coast Guard encourages boaters to have a working VHF Marine Band radio on board. A cell phone can be a good secondary emergency device, but is not considered a replacement for a VHF Marine Band radio.

“This should have been an easy case,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeremy Cole from Station Galveston. “What made this difficult because was poor communications with the ski-boat. A VHF Marine Band radio makes communicating on the water easier. Another factor that made this frustrating was, he couldn’t provide an accurate location because he didn’t have a GPS. With a GPS, we can get an accurate location and minimize the search aspect of the rescue.”

The Coast Guard reminds boaters to file a float plan and leave a copy with a friend, relative or local marina before heading out on the water. If a vessel has an emergency, the information will be available to local marine police and the Coast Guard. If a boater is delayed they should update their float plan as soon as possible.

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