Coast Guard suspends search for fisherman near Shackleford, N.C.

SHACKLEFORD, N.C. – The Coast Guard suspended their search for a missing fisherman at 6:56 p.m. Thursday who had been missing since approximately 5 a.m. Wednesday from Pelletier Creek near Morehead City.

Sector North Carolina watchstanders received a report at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday that a man had departed from Pelletier Creek on a 17-foot Carolina Skiff. According to the son of the man, he left for a fishing trip without informing anyone and typically tells someone. His son said he is usually back by 5 p.m.

Watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to notify other boaters in the area and launched two Station Fort Macon rescue boat crews. The 24 and 25-foot rescue boat crews searched Pelletier Creek, Adams Creek, Cape Lookout Bight and Outside of Cape Lookout Bight. The watchstanders found that he made a cell phone call at 12:24 p.m. Wednesday which was within 14 nautical miles of the phone tower the call went through in Beaufort.

An Air Station Elizabeth City MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew arrived on scene at approximately 7:30 a.m. Thursday. They searched inside the cell phone tower range area, Cape Lookout, oceanside of Shackleford Banks, Bogue Sound, and Newport River. A Station Fort Macon 47-foot rescue boat crew was also involved in the search as well as the Cape Lookout park rangers.

A Good Samaritan located an overturned skiff with green bottom on the beach of Shackleford Banks. The helicopter crew found that it was empty.

This is the second search in three days for a fisherman going out in poor weather by themselves. Tuesday the Coast Guard found an overdue boater dead 12 miles east of New Topsail Inlet.

To reduce the number of incidents on the water and to increase the safety of people on the water, the Coast Guard recommends the following:

  • Make sure a friend or relative knows your float plan. A float plan states where you are going and how many people are aboard your vessel, gives a complete vessel description, and details your destination and when you plan to return. Float plans aid rescuers in identifying a search area in the event of an emergency while on the water.
  • Be sure to check the local weather prior to departing the dock. Weather can change very rapidly and boaters should keep a watchful eye on the forecast conditions.
  • The Coast Guard urges mariners to outfit their boat with a functioning marine band radio, as cell phones are typically an unreliable source of communication due to gaps in coverage and limited battery life. Using channel 16 on a marine-band radio is the most reliable way to communicate distress to search and rescue personnel in an emergency.
  • Emergency position-indicating radio beacons provide boaters an enhancement during an offshore voyage. In the event a voyage is interrupted by unforeseen events, the beacon will transmit the boat’s position and other identifying information that will expedite rescue.

For further boating safety information, check online at one of the following:

· U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

· Vessel Safety Checks

· Coast Guard Boating Safety page

· National Safe Boating Council

· U.S. Power Squadrons

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