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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard assisted three overdue boaters aboard a vessel taking on water about 30 miles northeast of South Padre Island, Texas, Saturday.
Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi watchstanders received notification at 10 p.m. Friday of three overdue boaters aboard a 31-foot catamaran when family members reported them missing.
The three men had departed Island Moorings Marina in Port Aransas, Texas, at 10 a.m. Thursday, heading for Perdido Rig, located approximately 180 miles east of South Padre Island. The men had not returned to Port Aransas by late Friday night as expected.
Watchstanders contacted Perdido Rig personnel, who reported they saw the catamaran near the rig at about 3 p.m. Friday. Watchstanders then directed the launch of an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi.
After beginning their search, the Ocean Sentry crew heard the boaters hail them on VHF-FM channel 16. The boaters then activated both the DSC distress alert function on their radio and their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). Using location data from the alerts, command center personnel vectored the aircrew to the boaters’ position and directed the launch of a Coast Guard Station South Padre Island 33-foot Special Purpose Craft–Law Enforcement boat crew.
Upon arriving, the Ocean Sentry crew observed the three boaters bailing water out of the catamaran. On-scene weather conditions were 10-foot seas with winds of 34 mph. The SPC-LE crew rendezvoused with the catamaran and escorted the men safely to Sea Ranch Marina on South Padre Island. Emergency medical services personnel assessed the boaters; there were no injuries or ailments reported.
“This case highlights the importance of diligently checking the weather forecast and filing an accurate float plan with family members, including intended arrival times,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Josuah Chears-Stevens, command duty officer, Sector Corpus Christi. “We urge all mariners venturing offshore to carry a properly registered EPIRB and fully charged satellite phone on board. This equipment can mean the difference between life and death.”