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Press Release | May 8, 2024

Coast Guard conducts joint rescue with Nags Head Fire Rescue

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard assisted with the rescue of a 70-year-old male, Monday evening, near Nags Head, North Carolina.

Nags Head Fire Rescue Fireboat 16 located and recovered the individual wearing a lifejacket, who was showing signs of severe hypothermia west of Jockey Ridge State Park, after a multi-agency search effort led by the Coast Guard. The man was transferred to awaiting emergency medical services and transported to Outer Banks Hospital.

Watchstanders with Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center received notification from a family member reporting the man overdue from getting underway aboard an inflatable sailing vessel. The watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast, directed the launch of a Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet 27-foot Shallow-Water Response Craft, a Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, along with local rescue crews.

The station crew arrived on scene near Roanoke Island, west of Nags Head, and found a pontoon from the vessel lodged in the marsh near Jockey’s Ridge and the helicopter crew located the rest of the vessel capsized in the middle of Roanoke Sound, with no one aboard.

“If he was not wearing a lifejacket, he may have not survived out there,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nicholas M. Pavlik, the search and rescue mission coordinator for Sector North Carolina. “His diligence to wear protective gear while on the water contributed to his life being saved. As we approach the warmer months of the year, it should be noted that warmer temperatures do not mean warmer water. Always be prepared and check the weather before going out.”

In addition, the Coast Guard encourages the public to review these key safe boating tips in advance of the summer boating season:

  • Always wear a life jacket. There is usually very little time to reach for stowed vests when accidents occur. Wearing one at all times reduces the risk of drowning. Federal law requires mariners to have a personal flotation device aboard for each passenger.
  • Have sufficient means of communication including a VHF radio. VHF channel 16 is the international hailing and distress frequency and can be used to reach the Coast Guard during emergencies.
  • Never boat under the influence. It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There are stringent penalties for violating BUI/BWI laws, which can include large fines, suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges and jail terms.
  • Never turn your back on the water. There are strong rip currents along the Atlantic coast, and sneaker waves are common.
  • Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature.
  • Even if boaters do not plan to enter the water, they should be prepared for an emergency. Paddleboarders, kayakers and wind surfers who are likely to go in the water should wear a wetsuit to decrease their risk of hypothermia and a life jacket to prevent them from drowning before rescuers can get on scene.
  • File a float plan. A float plan is simply letting family and friends know where you are going and your expected time of return. File a float plan with someone who is not getting underway with you and stick to the plan. A float plan assists responders in the search of an overdue boater who may be in distress.

For more boating information, go to and for weather conditions please visit

- USCG -