Preparedness and proper use of emergency gear are being credited by the U.S. Coast Guard in the rescue of a small boat that became stranded near Anacapa Island.
Two fishermen who spent the day Monday near the island in their 18-foot boat were reported missing by the wife of one of the men after falling to return as scheduled, according to Coast Guard spokesman Adam Eggers.
At about 9 p.m., the Coast Guard began its search, using an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Los Angeles, a boat from Station Channel Islands Harbor, and the Cutter Blacktip from Oxnard, Eggers said.
The helicopter crew, using night-vision goggles, spotted the men just before midnight on their drifting boat as they waved handheld flares and shot emergency flares into the air, Eggers said. It turned out their boat had become disabled while attempting to return home, he said.
A 41-foot Utility Boat from Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor towed the vessel safely back to shore, Eggers said.
“The preparedness and proper use of emergency gear by the two men directly contributed to the Coast Guard’s ability to successfully locate and rescue them,” Eggers said. “This rescue demonstrates the need for mariners to ensure that their boat has all the required safety equipment onboard, such as emergency flares and lifejackets, as well as the need to file a float plan with a family member or harbormaster.
“A float plan simply lets someone know where you vessel is going, who will be onboard, and when you plan on returning, key information vital for rescuers to find you quickly.”