Fishermen safe thanks to safety equipment

Coast Guard District 11 NewsALAMEDA, Calif. – Two fishermen stranded on a boat were found safe this morning 22 miles southwest of the Golden Gate Bridge thanks to the aid of their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon and some flares.

The 36-foot fishing vessel Capt. Jack lost power near the Farallon Islands. With no other means of communication, the fishermen activated their EPIRB. A properly registered EPIRB beams an alert that contains information about the owner of the boat and an approximate position to satellites, which is then relayed to the Coast Guard.

It was 4:30 a.m. when the 11th Coast Guard District Command Center received the EPIRB alert. They contacted a friend of the owner who confirmed Capt. Jack left San Francisco yesterday morning.

Following the confirmation of the EPIRB alert, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station San Francisco found the Capt. Jack at 6:15 a.m. when the distressed mariners fired off a signal flare.

“We were able to locate Capt. Jack within seconds after arriving on scene because they had the right emergency equipment and knew how to use it,” said Lt. Matthew Kroll, the helicopter pilot. “They fired a flare at the perfect time; any sooner and we might have missed it, any later and it would have become a hazard to the aircraft.”

The helicopter crew lowered a radio to the fishermen, and directed them to put on their life jackets. The fishermen told the helicopter crew that their boat was disabled and had no power. A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat from Station Golden Gate towed the boat.

The Coast Guard reminds all mariners to have all of their safety gear in order before getting underway. Because the Capt. Jack had a properly registered the EPIRB on board, Coast Guard watchstanders were able to confirm that these fishermen needed help. Additionally, Coast Guard aircrew immediately found the fishermen because of the signal flare.

“This was a great example of mariners in distress who knew the best ways to help rescue crews and because of that we were all able to come home safely,” said Kroll.

With the upcoming winter weather the Coast Guard also reminds mariners to make sure they have the required safety equipment of signal flares and life jackets for everyone on board their vessels. Additionally, all boaters should have a properly working marine band VHF radio with Channel 16, the international hailing and distress channel, capabilities to call for help from the Coast Guard or from Good Samaritans.

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