The US Coast Guard has reported that two sailors were rescued after their sailing vessel began taking on water one nautical mile offshore from Albion, CA, in Mendocino County on Sunday.
Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders received a notification just after midnight that the sailing vessel Playtime had reportedly hit a submerged object in heavy fog and was taking on water. The two people onboard only had their cell phones and emergency flares available.
At approximately 1 a.m. the Coast Guard launched a dispatched 47-ft response boat crew from Station Noyo River, and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Humboldt Bay. When the boat crew arrived on the scene at 1:45 a.m. they recovered both people from the vessel and transported them to Fort Bragg. Both people were in good condition.
Playtime was determined unsafe to attempt to salvage and was reported submerged. The Coast Guard then issued a broadcast to alert mariners to this potential hazard to navigation.
“This case could have gone south quickly,” said Capt. Mark Hiigel, commander, Sector Humboldt Bay. “Search and rescue, especially at night, is inherently risky and is almost always a difficult mission to complete. The more a mariner is prepared with appropriate safety gear and emergency communications, the more likely there will be a successful outcome.”
The Coast Guard also issued a recommendation that all boaters adopt the following safety tips:
Carry a VHF-FM marine radio and monitor Channel 16 for current ocean forecast and emergency marine broadcast information. Cell phones can be helpful, but not reliable for emergencies, as they often lose signal and can run out of a fully-charged battery.
Have and register an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), as they provide the fastest and most accurate way for response crews to locate and rescue people in distress.
Always wear a life jacket. The Coast Guard estimates that life jackets could save more than 80 percent of boating fatality victims.