Coast Guard rescues boaters off Ponce de Leon Inlet

Coast Guard rescues boaters off Ponce de Leon Inlet

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Coast Guard crew members assigned to Station Ponce de Leon Inlet came to the aid of the some boaters who reported a crack in the hull of their 23-foot vessel Wednesday morning.

"We were about 30 miles out, couple miles short of our destination, and it just kept getting worse," said Mike McKenney.  "We tried to turn around, and we just realized we weren't gonna make it."

"A previous crack had opened up," said Dave Garrett.  "We put some repair on that and started back in."

The men made the temporary repair, using a life jacket to patch the hole, but the flooding worsened as they headed back to shore.  

But they didn't panic.  They called the Coast Guard around 10:30 a.m., and a crew arrived around noon, getting them off the boat safely, pumping the water out, and towing them back to shore.

"We had a hard time trying to keep up with the flooding at first, but we were able to get it under control and were able to get the people off the boat and get the boat back to shore safely," said Coast Guard Senior Chief Dave Carrig.

"This rescue is an excellent example of why it is so important for boaters to have VHF-FM marine radios," said Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Sullivan, Sector Jacksonville command duty officer. "The men were able to contact us immediately to tell us they were in trouble, and we were able to maintain communication with them until our boat crew arrived."


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