Fishing Vessel Awakin Town Hall

Welcome to the Fishing Vessel Awakin Town Hall webpage


On May 28, 2023, at approximately 1443, the 30.8-ft. uninspected passenger vessel Awakin capsized while charter fishing in Sitka Sound near Low Island with four passengers on board and one master.  There were no witnesses or distress calls received, and all hands were lost.  The vessel was reported overdue to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center at 1728 by the Kingfisher Lodge, which chartered the vessel for the passengers who were guests at the Lodge.  Coast Guard Sector Juneau assumed the distress phase and commenced a search.  A helicopter from AIRSTA Sitka located the Awakin partially submerged in the vicinity of Low Island, with only a small portion of the bow visible above water and no signs of survivors.  Shortly thereafter, the Coast Guard helicopter located a passenger unresponsive in the water, retrieved them and transferred them to Sitka Fire Emergency Medical Services, where emergency resuscitation efforts commenced.  The passenger was transported to SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center, where further resuscitation efforts were not successful, and the passenger was pronounced deceased.

The search for survivors continued using multiple Coast Guard assets, a Sitka Fire Rescue boat, and several good Samaritan vessels.  During the search, divers from the Sitka Fire Department reported seeing a deceased person in the cabin of the vessel.  They could not remove the person due to the poor conditions on scene.  On May 29, 2023, at 2130, the Coast Guard District Seventeen Commander suspended the active search for survivors.

The following day, two passengers were recovered from the cabin of the Awakin by divers from the Sitka Fire Department. On June 8, 2023, the master was located and recovered from Sitka Sound by divers from the Sitka Fire Department.  One passenger remains missing and is presumed deceased.  The Awakin was salvaged and removed from the water and deemed a total loss.

General Information

A District Formal Investigation was convened by the Seventeenth District Commander under authority specified in Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 4.07-1 for this casualty.  The investigation is intended to determine the cause of the casualty and to obtain information for the purpose of preventing or reducing the effects of similar casualties in the future.  This investigation is also intended to determine if there is evidence that any incompetence, misconduct, unskillfulness, or willful violation of the law on the part of any licensed officer, pilot, seaman, employee, owner, or agent of such owner of any vessel involved or any inspector, officer of the Coast Guard, or other officer or employee of the United States, or any other person, caused or contributed to the cause of this casualty; or if there is evidence that any act in violation of any of the provisions of the United States Code or any of the regulations issued there under was committed.  

In lieu of conducting formal public hearing proceedings, it was determined that a presentation of findings in a public town hall format would be more effective due to the limited witnesses involved in this case.

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