REPORT FROM THE COAST GUARD – HONOLULU — A mariner aboard a 24-foot sailboat 944 miles from the main Hawaiian Islands is safe and continuing his voyage to San Francisco after surviving a gale-force storm in the Pacific.
The Coast Guard suspended the search Thursday for the sailing vessel Pier Pressure after communication was established with the owner, Rimas Meleshyus.
At 5:15 p.m., Meleshyus updated his coordinates and sent a text message via satellite device stating he was ok and did not need any assistance.
Watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center received notification Thursday morning from a concerned friend that Meleshyus transmitted a text via satellite stating, “I lost my life raft, in danger now.”
Meleshyus departed Hilo, Hawaii, Feb. 9 on a solo voyage to San Francisco aboard his sailboat.
After unsuccessful attempts were made to establish communications with Meleshyus via cell phone, computer and satellite device, the Coast Guard launched a rescue mission in search of the distressed mariner.
An HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, the Coast Guard Cutter Kukui, homeported in Honolulu, and two Good Samaritan vessels were enroute to the sailboat’s last known position when Meleshyus established communication.
The Coast Guard advises all mariners to ensure they have all necessary safety equipment aboard and that it is in working condition before heading out on the water. This includes having appropriate safety and communications equipment such as lifejackets and a working VHF radio, checking local weather conditions and ensuring the vessel is seaworthy.
Mariners who want to ensure their vessel is safe and compliant with current regulations can request a free safety check by visiting www.vesselsafetycheck.org. For more information on boating safety, visit www.uscgboating.org.