Preparation, Partnerships Pay Off in 17 Mariners Rescues

USCG 14th district
U.S. and international partners recently rescued 17 boaters off the coasts of Alaska, California and Micronesia. Image courtesy of USCG.

U.S. Coast Guard officials are crediting prepared mariners and partnerships with U.S. Native and international partners for the successful rescue of 17 boaters off the coasts of Alaska, California and Micronesia , over a two-day period in mid-November.

All three rescues highlight the importance of mariners being properly equipped and trained for survival at sea, as well as government and industry partnerships, said Coast Guard officials in Alameda, California.

The crew of a good Samaritan vessel, Nord Rubicon, rescued seven fishermen in a life raft on Nov. 10, 350 miles off the coast of Monterey, California after their 85-foot commercial fishing boat became engulfed in flames. Multiple alerts, via emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), immediately notified Coast Guard crews that the vessel was in peril.

Coast Guard watchstanders used an Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System to seek help from nearby ships. Crew aboard the Nord Rubicon, 80 miles away, diverted from their course, retrieved the fishermen and brought them to shore.

That same day, aircrews from Coast Guard Sector Juneau rescued four fishermen after they abandoned their 53-foot fishing boar as it sank 13 miles west of Cape Ommaney in Southeast Alaska. Coast Guard duty officer Nicholas Meyer credited their survival to their proper use of an EPIRB, VHF radio, survival suits, life raft and training.

On Nov. 11, off the coast of the Federated States of Micronesia six people who had survived at sea were found on a 24-foot skiff 40 miles southeast of the Morlock Islands. An eight-day search involved the Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, Federated States of Micronesia first responders, Caroline Islands first responders and local good Samaritans.

Vice Admiral Michael F. McAllister, commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, said the rescues demonstrate the Coast Guard’s ability to live up to the service’s motto: Semper Paratus—Always Ready.

“Thanks to the valuable relationships we’ve built with partner agencies, the valuable contributions of good Samaritans, and the focus these mariners had on ensuring they were ready for emergencies at sea, 17 people are alive today who may not otherwise be,” McAllister said. “This was a fitting tribute on Veteran’s Day, knowing the Coast Guard veterans who came before us laid the foundation for the incredible work our men and women do today.”