Coast Guard rescues two after canoe capsizes in the Florida Keys

KEY WEST, Fla. — A Coast Guard boatcrew from Station Marathon, Fla., rescued two people approximately one mile south of Duck Key, Fla., Monday night after their canoe capsized during rough weather conditions.

Coast Guard Station Marathon watchstanders received a call Monday at 6:40 p.m. from a good Samaritan who reported two people, a 34-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman, departed on their canoe around 5:30 p.m. and had failed to return before dark as planned.

The Coast Guard responded immediately by launching two boatcrews from Station Marathon. A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Air Station Miami conducting training in the area was also diverted to the scene.

At 8:40 p.m. the two people were located by Station Marathon crews. The two people were reportedly waving their hands and yelling while clinging to their capsized canoe without life-jackets on. The boatcrew quickly brought them aboard, provided blankets to keep them warm, and brought them in to Sparky’s Bar and Grill in Key Colony Beach, Fla., where they were evaluated by local EMS.

Weather at the time of the rescue was reported to be 15 to 20-knot winds with gusts up to 25 knots and 3 to 4-foot seas.

The two people reported they borrowed a neighbors canoe and had intended to return before dark. Shortly after getting offshore, the two reached choppy water and started taking waves over the side of the canoe. The canoe quickly filled with water and capsized, leaving the two in the water for approximately three hours before being rescued by the Station Marathon boatcrew.

Winter weather in the Florida Keys can change rapidly and be unpredictable. The Coast Guard urges all mariners to check weather reports prior to departing, wear life-jackets, and have a form of communication aboard to notify the Coast Guard if they become distressed.

The Coast Guard remains vigilant to persons in distress. To report distress on the water contact the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16.

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