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Press Release | March 7, 2024

Coast Guard, Virgin Islands Search and Rescue rescue 3 boaters from sinking sailing vessel near the British Virgin Islands

ST THOMAS, U.S.Virgin Islands – Coast Guard and Virgin Islands Search and Rescue units rescued three boaters near Horseshoe Reef, approximately six nautical miles southeast of Anegada, British Virgin Islands, Thursday.

Rescued are three adults, who reportedly were forced to abandon the sailing vessel Quartz, a 33-foot catamaran, after the vessel struck the rocks and began taking on water. All three boaters were wearing lifejackets when rescued.

At approximately 4:25 a.m., Thursday, Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a Mayday VHF Channel 16 radio communication as well as a 406Mhz transmission from the sailing vessel Quartz’s Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon. The boaters relayed to watchstanders that they were planning to abandon the sailing vessel and embark the vessel’s dinghy. Watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard 33-foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement from Boat Forces Unit St. Thomas and an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Borinquen to find the boaters, and they also notified Virgin Islands Search and Rescue authorities of the ongoing distress.

Shortly thereafter, a responding Virgin Islands Search and Rescue marine unit arrived on-scene and recovered all three boaters from the dinghy, who were then transported to Tortola, British Virgin Islands where they were assisted by Virgin Islands Search and Rescue and local authorities.  No medical emergencies were reported in this case.

“The efficient communication between the Coast Guard and Virgin Islands Search and Rescue allowed us to relay valuable information from the sailing vessel Quartz’s EPIRB that facilitated the expedited rescue of the three boaters,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Victor Rodríguez Laboy, Sector San Juan operations unit controller for the case.  “Vessel owners should always register their EPIRB’s with NOAA, doing so could save valuable time during a search and rescue response as it did in this case.”