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Coast Guard Rescues Boater Off Kahoolawe

PC: Petty Officer 2nd Class Shaun Farroll

The Coast Guard rescued a 75-year-old boater who abandoned ship after his sailing vessel began taking on water 500 yards off Kahoolawe, Sunday.

“We are always happy at the end of the day when we know someone who was in danger is now safe and sound,” said Lt. j.g. Brad McNell, a Sector Honolulu command duty officer. “This case is a great example of why we recommend waterway users have multiple forms of communication. The boater had abandoned his vessel into his dinghy and fortunately had a second radio aboard allowing him to contact our assets once they arrived on scene and recover him quickly.”

A Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew brought the boater back to Coast Guard Station Maui. There are no reports of injuries.

At 8:02 a.m., Sector Honolulu watchstanders received a report from the boater’s friend stating he had called her and said his boat was sinking. He told his friend he was abandoning ship.

Sector Honolulu watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast notice to mariners and deployed the RB-M crew and crews from Air Station Barbers Point aboard a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and HC-130 Hercules airplane to search the area.

At 11:01 a.m., the crews located the boater’s vessel on shore and began searching the surrounding waters. The Hercules and RB-M crews heard the boater’s calls over the radio, made contact, and we’re able to locate his dinghy at 11:31 a.m. The RB-M then successfully recovered him.

“One of the most important aspects of search and rescue operations is the notification process,” said McNell. “We always recommend waterway users err on the side of caution and tell someone when they think they are in danger. Something as simple as a phone call to a friend can make a world of difference and as always we are standing by on VHF channel 16 should you need help.”

The boater had been traveling from Lanai to the Big Island when he began taking on water. His vessel washed ashore on Kahoolawe and pollution responders are investigating.

The weather on scene at the time of the rescue was 8 mph winds and seas up to one foot.

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