Coast Guard rescues two people from sinking boat in Monterey County

Bay City News
Saturday, March 28, 2015

MONTEREY, Calif. -- Members of the U.S. Coast Guard rescued two people from a boat that was taking on water Friday afternoon roughly 17 miles off the Monterey shoreline, officials said.

Just after 4:30 p.m., the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco received a radio transmission of a distress call from a boat roughly 60 miles south of Monterey and 17 miles from the shore in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, according to Coast Guard officials.

A person aboard a 55-foot sailboat reported the vessel was taking on water at a rapid rate, officials said.

The two people on the boat told the Coast Guard they didn't know why it was sinking and said the boat's built-in dewatering pump was struggling to keep up with water intake, Coast Guard officials said.

The Coast Guard dispatched two rescue boats from the Coast Guard's Monterey and Morro Bay stations, along with a search-and-rescue helicopter from the Coast Guard's air station in San Francisco.

The boat was in an area with six- to eight-foot sea swells and 20 to 25 mph winds, officials said.

Both people aboard the ship had life vests available and the boat was equipped with a rescue raft. Coast Guard officials said the boaters also had an emergency radio beacon, which transmits a location to rescue crews and helped the crews locate their exact position.

At 6:40 p.m., the rescue crews found the sailboat with the two people aboard and using a rescue swimmer, hoisted both people from the sinking vessel and into the helicopter.

The sailboat was left to sink. Coast Guard officials said it was not salvageable because of the amount of flooding it sustained.

Capt. Greg Stump, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, attributed the successful rescue to preparation and the actions the vessel operators took to alert the Coast Guard of their location.

"They quickly made a distress call for help, which allowed the Coast Guard enough time to respond," Stump said in a statement. "These sailors were prepared for a disaster scenario, and their diligence to have personal flotation devices, a life raft and emergency locating beacon on board saved their lives."

Click here for more information on how to be prepared for boating emergencies.