Coast Guard rescues 3 boaters off Florida Keys

MARATHON, Fla. — The Coast Guard rescued three boaters who were overdue from a fishing trip that started Saturday at 8 a.m.

The missing boater’s family members contacted the Coast Guard Saturday night around 11 p.m. and said the 22-foot Mako boat with the three people aboard departed Saturday at 8 a.m. and should have returned Saturday around 5 p.m. The family members weren’t sure where the boaters launched from.

It was reported that three males, ages 42, 37, and 16, were headed offshore to fish for dolphin, but the exact area could not be determined.

The Coast Guard responded immediately by issuing an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and launching a search using multiple aircraft and boat crews.

In addition to actively searching for the boat, the Coast Guard also canvassed local marinas and boat ramps overnight with the help of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to determine where the boat could’ve launched from.

Throughout the course of this morning’s search, a good Samaritan, in response to the UMIB, located the missing boaters who reported their boat became disabled, causing them to drift throughout the night.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Pea Island was diverted to take the boat in tow and bring it close to shore. Smallboat crews from Coast Guard Station Marathon took over the tow and brought the three aboard to reunite them with their family members.

“We are extremely grateful that we found these boaters safe,” said Cmdr. Jim Olive, acting commander, Coast Guard Sector Key West. “The Coast Guard would like to remind boaters to come up with a plan before they go boating–including where they are leaving from, where they intend to go, and when they will be back–then passing the plan to someone on land who can call the Coast Guard if needed. These simple steps will save valuable time when trying to locate someone in distress.”

The Coast Guard searched an area between Marathon and Key Largo that was bigger than the state of Rhode Island–more than 3,000 square miles.

Coast Guard units involved in the search included:

  • The Coast Guard Cutter Pea Island, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West, Fla.
  • Two HU-25 Falcon jet crews from Coast Guard Air Station Miami
  • Multiple smallboat crews from Coast Guard Stations Marathon and Islamorada, Fla.
  • An HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew deployed to the area from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans

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