Coast Guard rescues boater near Alameda

Coast Guard 29-foot Response Boat-Small file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll

Coast Guard 29-foot Response Boat-Small file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard rescued a boater whose 14-foot sailing vessel capsized and was taking on water south of Alameda, Tuesday.

The operator of the sailing vessel made a mayday broadcast via VHF-FM channel 16 around 4 p.m., but due to a language barrier, Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watchstanders were unable to obtain further information from him.

By using Rescue 21, the Coast Guard’s advanced direction-finding emergency response system, the watchstanders obtained the man’s approximate location. They issued an urgent marine information broadcast (UMIB) to boaters in the area and dispatched an aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco and a 29-foot response boat crew from Coast Guard Station San Francisco.

The ferry Blackbird captain heard the UMIB and voluntarily diverted to the scene to provide the exact position to the Coast Guard. The Station San Francisco boat crew arrived soon after at 4:25 p.m., and pulled the man out of the water. The boat crew took him to Alameda Landing, where his wife was waiting. There were no reported injuries.

“The Rescue 21 system is triggered when a boater makes a radio transmission on VHF-FM channel 16. By having a VHF radio ready for immediate use, we were able to find his position and get him the help he needed,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Berger, the search-and-rescue mission coordinator. “We are also thankful to boaters like those on the ferry Blackbird, who take the time and care to look out for their fellow mariners.”

A commercial salvage company removed the vessel from the waterway.

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