Coast Guard rescues 3 from cold water

1st Coast Guard District News
BOSTON – Three Strafford, N.H., men are safe after being rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard crew when their 18-foot boat capsized about a mile off the coast of Rye, N.H., June 24, 2011.

The Rye Fire Department contacted Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor around 10:30 a.m., reporting the men called 911 after a wave came over the stern of their boat, capsizing the vessel and knocking all three men into the water.

“These men are really lucky,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class John Matthews, the officer of the day at Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor. “The water is only 57 degrees and they weren’t wearing life jackets. In that cold of water it doesn’t take long for hypothermia to set in.”

A Station Portsmouth Harbor 25-foot boat crew responded and rescued the trio and brought them back to the station where they were met by New Castle EMS.

No injuries were reported. They were not taken to the hospital.

New Hampshire Fish and Game assisted the station crew.

The men, ages 20, 21 and 22, were reportedly recreational lobstering at the time of the incident. The owner of the vessel is working to recover it from the water.

The on scene weather was seas of 5 to 6 feet with low visibility due to rain.

“This is a prime reason we strongly recommend everyone on the water not only have their life jackets aboard their boat, but to wear them,” said Matthews. “These men didn’t have time to put theirs on before finding themselves in the chilly water … having it on your boat instead of your body won’t help you when you need it.”

In 2010, between 70 and 80 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned. Eighty-five to 90 percent of those who drowned were not wearing their life jackets.

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