Coast Guard rescues 2 missing boaters after night at sea

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Coast Guard rescued two boaters missing since Tuesday evening about 14 miles west of Egmont Key, Fla.

A Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg 41-foot motor lifeboat rescue crew found the two men and their 22-foot disabled Starcraft fishing boat at about 10 a.m. Wednesday and took them to the Pass A Grille Marina in St. Petersburg.

A family member reported the two men overdue to Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg search-and-rescue coordinators at about 1 a.m. Wednesday after they had failed to return from their fishing trip.

Assisting in the search were:

  • HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing and HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
  • 41-foot utility boat and 25-foot response boat crews from Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg.
  • 47-foot motor lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Sand Key, in Clearwater.
  • Coast Guard Cutter Hawk, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg.
  • Marine units from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
  • Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

“Due to the detailed information from the family member regarding where the two men often fished, this case was brought to a successful conclusion,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Constance Saint John, a search-and-rescue coordinator at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “Before going out on the water, all boaters should file a float plan, keep a working VHF radio onboard and have the proper safety equipment including a registered 406 MHz Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon.”

Beginning Feb. 1, the Coast Guard and other search-and-rescue personnel will receive information on activated 406 MHz EPIRBs, but will no longer receive the outdated 121.5 and 243.0 MHz transmissions. The advantage to the new 406 MHz EPIRB is that the signal it transmits can give the location of a boat to within 25 square miles. Higher-end models, combined with a GPS unit, can transmit a distressed boaters location to within a 100-yard radius.

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