Emergency flares and float plan help Coast Guard save two boaters

Coast Guard District 11 NewsSAN PEDRO, Calif. – The Coast Guard located two missing men in their 18-foot boat just before midnight near Anacapa Island, Calif., July 2, 2012.

The pair were fishing near the island but when they did not return as planned, the wife of one of the men contacted the Coast Guard shortly after 9 p.m.

The Coast Guard launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles, a boat from Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor, and the Coast Guard Cutter Blacktip from Oxnard, Calif, to conduct searches.

The helicopter crew, using night-vision goggles, spotted the men on their drifting boat as they waved handheld flares and shot emergency flares into the air. Their boat had become disabled while attempting to return home after a day of fishingE.

A 41-foot Utility Boat from Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor towed the vessel safely back to shore.

The preparedness and proper use of emergency gear by the two men directly contributed to the Coast Guard’s ability to successfully locate and rescue them. This rescue demonstrates the need for mariners to ensure that their boat has all the required safety equipment onboard, such as emergency flares and lifejackets, as well as the need to file a float plan with a family member or harbormaster. A float plan simply lets someone know where you vessel is going, who will be onboard, and when you plan on returning, key information vital for rescuers to find you quickly.

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