Coast Guard rescues 3, reminds boaters to be safe Memorial Day weekend

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By The Staff

Coast Guard crew members from the Coast Guard Station in Yankeetown rescued three people from a sinking 16-foot recreational boat near Eleven Prong on Thursday, May 22.

A report of a vessel with two adults and one child aboard taking on water at approximately 6 p.m.
 was received by the Coast Guard 

Sector in St. Petersburg.

The Yankeetown CG crew launched a trailerable boat usually used in doing buoy and navigation sign duties to reach the three people and bring them to shore.

"This case highlights the importance of having life jackets on at all times," said Lt. jg Jessica Vogel, search and rescue coordinator. "A fun boat ride can quickly turn into a serious situation; it’s imperative the boating community has the proper safety gear aboard, especially with the high traffic this Memorial Day Weekend."

The Coast Guard recommends the public make an investment in their personal safety not just this weekend but throughout the summer. Additional boating safety information can be found here.

That safety information includes, but is not limited to:

• Using the buddy system. Never go out alone, since an accident can occur at any time.

• Have a marine band radio aboard. Mariners are encouraged to invest in VHF-FM radios because they provide superior alerting capabilities over cell phones. Moreover, when a mayday is sent out via VHF-FM radio it is a broadcast, not just one party is receiving the distress. Any nearby boaters can hear the distress and offer immediate assistance.

• File a float plan. A float plan should be left with someone who is not going with the recreational boaters. A float plan is a life-saving device on paper and provides emergency responders with valuable information needed to search for a distressed boater. Information on a float plan and how to obtain a blank float plan can be found here.

• Have an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) on your person or attached to your life jacket. Boaters should also have a digital 406 MHz EPIRB a to their vessel as well More information can be found here.

• Renew flares and signaling devices. Day and night visible flares, a signal mirror, and/or a whistle, air horn or sound producing device should be used to alert others that you are in distress.