EPIRB notifies Coast Guard of disabled vessel with 3 people 63 miles offshore

Southeastern Coast Guard News
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Three people stranded on a disabled fishing boat 63 miles east of Mount Pleasant, S.C., are receiving Coast Guard assistance Friday because of a life-saving piece of equipment on board the vessel.

The trio, too far offshore to communicate using their VHF-FM radio, activated the vessel’s Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon at 10:54 a.m., which instantly provided GPS coordinates, notifying Coast Guard watchstanders that a boat was in trouble.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Charleston command center began transmitting urgent marine information broadcasts to request assistance from other vessels nearby, and an aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter launched from Coast Guard Air Facility Charleston.

The aircrew headed to the coordinates provided by the EPIRB and immediately spotted the 44-foot boat Norris Cell disabled due to a dead battery in 4-6-foot seas.

The Kingfisher II, a good Samaritan vessel which responded to the broadcast, arrived about 3:30 p.m., and has been assisting with radio communications.

A Coast Guard boatcrew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat – Medium from Coast Guard Station Charleston arrived at 4:55 p.m., placed the Norris Cell in tow and is currently towing the vessel toward Charleston. They are expected to arrive about 6 a.m. Saturday.

The Coast Guard urges all boaters, especially those transiting offshore or to remote areas, to carry an EPIRB or a Personal Locator Beacon.  EPRBS and PLBs save valuable time during maritime emergencies by transmitting electronic distress signals and GPS coordinates. When EPIRBs are properly registered, they also provide first responders with owners’ contact information and vessel descriptions, which is vital information during search and rescue cases.

More information about EPIRBs is available on the Coast Guard Compass blog post What’s an EPIRB?

Photo of an EPIRB

When activated, an EPIRB sends an electronic signal that will notify the Coast Guard of a distress situation. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Brazzell.



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