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CHARLESTON, S.C. — A Coast Guard Air Station Savannah aircrew rescued two men, Thursday, after their 34-foot fishing vessel sank 50 miles offshore Savannah, Georgia.
Coast Guard Sector Charleston watchstanders received a report from Coast Guard District Seven watchstanders of an emergency position indicating radio beacon activation from the fishing vessel Lady Diane plotting 50 miles offshore Savannah. District Seven watchstanders contacted the vessel’s registered owner who stated the vessel was offshore fishing with approximately two people aboard.
Sector Charleston watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and attempted to contact the vessel with no results. An Air Station Savannah helicopter crew diverted to the vessel’s position provided by the EPIRB.
The responding aircrew arrived on scene, commenced searching and located two people in a life raft after they launched a flare to alert the aircrew of their position. The aircrew hoisted the men and transported them to Hunter Army Airfield to awaiting emergency medical services personnel.
No medical concerns were reported. The cause of the incident is under investigation.
"The mariners demonstrated remarkable skill in deploying their lifesaving equipment, enabling our crew to locate them within minutes upon arriving on scene," said Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Anderson, aircraft commander during the case. "The mariner's effective use of their EPIRB and signaling flare played a pivotal role in the success of this case."
“This case demonstrates the importance of having layers of communications effectively taking the “search” out of search and rescue,” said Scott Szczepaniak, recreational boating safety specialist, Coast Guard Seventh District. “Anyone venturing offshore, including recreational boaters, should consider carrying an EPIRB, and a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), as an extra layer of security. A properly registered VHF-FM marine radio, equipped with digital selective calling and programmed with the vessel’s MMSI and connected to a GPS, should be your first layer of security. Cell phone coverage can be spotty or non-existent and phones are not built for the rigors of the marine environment and should not be your only means of communication offshore."
Learn more about another real-life rescue involving electronic communications devices here: Lifeline - Water Sports Foundation
National Safe Boating Council EPIRB resources here: Saved by the Beacon | National Safe Boating Council
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