At 10:15 a.m., watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received notification from a friend of the vessel’s operator reporting that the 19-foot boat was disabled. The mariner contacted his friend using a cell phone. An approximate position was determined using information form the cell phone call.
An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and the 378-foot Coast Guard Cutter Rush were diverted to search. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew launched from Air Station Barbers Point and a 45-foot Response-Boat Medium crew launched from Station Maui.
The disabled boat was spotted at 7:06 p.m. when the Hercules aircrew noticed the mariner waving a flashlight. The airplane crew passed the boat’s position to the Dolphin helicopter crew. The Dolphin crew arrived at 7:26 p.m. and deployed a rescue swimmer. The rescue swimmer and passenger were safely hoisted at 7:50 p.m.
At 8:29 p.m., the man was safely transferred to awaiting EMS at Kahului Airport in stable condition.
On-scene conditions were seas of more than ten feet and 40 mph winds.
The vessel remains adrift and the Coast Guard is issuing a broadcast notice to mariners notifying them of the hazard to navigation.
Maritime accidents can occur quickly and without warning to even the most experienced mariners. Mariners should ensure they have all appropriate safety equipment aboard and know how to use it.
This includes a VHF marine band radio, flares and life jackets that can greatly increase the chances of survival in an emergency. The Coast Guard recommends mariners not rely on cell phones for emergency communications as they can be unreliable offshore.
VHF radios allow communication with all vessels in an area increasing the chance that a distress call will be received.
For more information on recommended safety equipment, visit www.uscgboating.org.