Coast Guard rescue crews and a good Samaritan rescued two boaters during separate incidents in St. Thomas Wednesday, while Hurricane Dorian was making its way through the area, the U.S. Coast Guard announced in a news release.
In one case, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a call at approximately 5 p.m. Wednesday from the owner of the 74-foot yacht, Summer Star, reporting the vessel had run aground near Perseverance Bay and was taking on water.
Coast Guard watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter deployed to Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, to render assistance. The helicopter crew arrived on scene with the Summer Star and hoisted the sole passenger aboard. The aircrew transported the mariner to the airport in St. Thomas, with no reported injuries.
“The vessel was listing back and forth from the waves,” said Lt. Kyle Van Dillen, Coast, co-pilot of the MH-60 Jayhawk. “With a strong wind we positioned the aircraft to be able to hoist the owner off the bow. Our crew is glad to have helped this mariner and bring him to safety.”
Watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a second report from the 49-foot motor yacht, Midnight Rambler, requesting assistance after reportedly becoming disabled and at anchor in South Water Point in St. Thomas, approximately 100 yards from the rocks with one person aboard. The watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to advise boaters in the area of the disabled vessel. A Good Samaritan vessel responded to the UMIB and safely towed the Midnight Rambler to the Yacht Haven Grande marina in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.
“Operating in the maritime environment is intrinsically dangerous, especially during hurricane season,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “Mariners should also have a full understanding of their personal boating limitations and always have approved and serviceable life jackets for everyone aboard, both mariners in last night’s rescues were wearing a life jacket!”
The Coast Guard monitors VHF Channel 16, 24 hours a day, every day, according to the news release. Use of a marine band VHF radio is the best mechanism for notifying the Coast Guard and surrounding boaters when in need of assistance.”