Coast Guard Stays Busy During Holiday Weekend

MIAMI – Coast Guard units throughout the Seventh Coast Guard District have since Saturday responded to more than 47 search and rescue cases as of 10:15 a.m. Monday.

Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Fla., units handled 18 search and rescue cases; Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, had 4; Sectors Charleston, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla., had two cases each; Sectors Miami and Key West each responded to six cases and the District Command Center coordinated the response to nine more cases. The Seventh Coast Guard District area of responsibility includes the states of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and spans 1.8 million square miles in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Among the 47 case were:

  • A diving accident Saturday in which a snorkler was reportedly run over by a motor vessel. The snorkler was pronounced dead at Fishermens Hospital. Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is the lead agency for the investigation.
  • A pleasure craft reportedly went out of control with five passengers onboard Saturday, running into mangroves near Tavernier, Fla. One injured passenger was transported to local EMS by Coast Guard Station Islamorada, Fla., and the four other passengers were taken to Tavernier Marina. The injured passenger was subsequently transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami, for treatment.
  • A vessel collision that reportedly resulted in the grounding of a 30-foot pleasure craft Sunday off Caladesi Island, near Dunedin, Fla. The operator of the grounded boat reported a 20-foot pleasure craft collided with their boat. Coast Guard Station Sand Key responded. No injuries were reported and a search of the area by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission did not locate a suspect vessel. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency for the investigation.
  • Coast Guard Station Miami Beach, Fla., responded to a report of a fire aboard a diving charter boat 18 miles east of Miami. The 104-foot sailing vessel had 12 passengers and seven crew onboard. A Sea Tow vessel, Station Miami Beach’s 33-foot special purpose craft and Miami-Dade’s Fire Rescue Boat 1 arrived on the scene within minutes of each other. The fire was extinguished and no injuries were reported. The vessel was escorted to the Port of Miami. The Coast Guard is investigating the incident.

All of the cases were conducted as Seventh District units also continued to conduct operations in the Coast Guard’s other mission areas including Maritime Security, Maritime Mobility and Protection of Natural Resources.

Included in the caseload are hoax calls and false alarms in which the Coast Guard investigated, launched search units or conducted search planning.

“The Coast Guard is the world’s premier life-saving maritime service,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, public affairs officer for the Seventh Coast Guard District. “We’re always ready to respond to calls for help, but we really want to help people prevent accidents from ever happening. We remind people to designate a driver and never drink and boat, to remain aware of their surroundings and the actions of other boaters, to file a float plan and to wear their life jacket.”

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