Myrtle Beach rescue illustrates importance of life jackets

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsCHARLESTON, S.C. – Two people are safe on land after spending more than four hours in the water Thursday night after their 19-foot sailboat capsized near Myrtle Beach, S.C.

A watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Charleston, S.C. was notified of an overturned sailboat three miles off Myrtle Beach about 7 p.m. Thursday.

Weather reports for the area indicate seas were about 4 to 6 feet.

A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Georgetown, S.C., launched to search. Local authorities responded as well.

Rescue crews found the pair with their life jackets on one mile north of Apache Pier in Myrtle Beach Thursday evening more than four hours after they began searching.

“This case is an excellent example of how wearing a life jacket can save your life,” said Capt. Michael White, commander of Coast Guard Sector Charleston. “Accidents on the water can happen to anyone, and wearing a life jacket when boating can significantly increase the ability to survive unpredictable accidents.”

To meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements, a boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket for each person aboard. Boats 16 feet and longer must have at least one Type IV throwable device as well.

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