Coast Guard rescues 2 from disabled sailing vessel 43 miles off North Island, Louisiana

Published 6:48 am Monday, May 23, 2022

HOUSTON — The Coast Guard rescued two boaters Sunday from a disabled sailing vessel 43 miles off North Island, Louisiana.

Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston command center watchstanders received multiple digital selective calling alerts and a mayday transmission via VHF-FM Channel 16 at 10:09 a.m. from the crew of the Athena, a 34-foot sailing vessel. The Coast Guard Eighth District command center also received an emergency position indicating radio beacon alert. 

Sector Houston-Galveston command center personnel issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of a Coast Guard Station Sabine 45-foot Response Boat–Medium crew, a Coast Guard Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and a Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alligator. Watchstanders also utilized the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System and SafetyNET.

The Dolphin helicopter crew arrived on scene, established communications with the sailing vessel and determined the vessel’s helm had stripped off during a storm. The Dolphin crew proceeded to hoist the two boaters from the vessel and facilitated an emergency medical service check. The boaters were then transported to Lake Charles and intend on developing a salvage plan for their vessel.

“This case exemplifies the importance of providing a GPS position in a maritime emergency and filing a float plan before departing,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ian Murray, search and rescue mission coordinator, Sector Houston-Galveston. “Because the Athena crew utilized their VHF radio, activated their EPIRB and left a float plan with their family ashore, we were able to acquire a position for the vessel, allowing our rescue crew to arrive promptly and render assistance.”

National Safe Boating Week, a campaign that promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of consistent life jacket wear by recreational boaters, runs from Saturday, May 21 through May 27. NSBW is an annual observance sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council, and endorsed and promoted by the Coast Guard.

For more information on boating safety, please visit the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division at USCGBoating.org, or the National Safe Boating Council at SafeBoatingCouncil.org.

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