HOUSTON — The Coast Guard assisted seven mariners after their vessel, Smoker II, began taking on water 79 miles offshore Freeport, Texas, Wednesday.
At 10:29 a.m., Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders were notified by the crew of the 51-foot Smoker II that they were taking on water. The vessel’s dewatering pumps were keeping up with the flow of water, but the vessel was now disabled and unable to get underway. Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast, diverted an Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Beluga and launched a Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry medium-range surveillance aircraft aircrew.
A good Samaritan responded to the urgent marine information broadcast and passed an additional dewatering pump to the crew of the Smoker II.
Once on scene, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Beluga launched a small boat crew who boarded the Smoker II to provide an additional dewatering pump. The USCGC Beluga placed the 51-foot vessel in tow.
At 6:48 p.m., the USCGC Beluga transferred the tow to a Station Freeport 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew who moored the Smoker II at Surfside Marina at 12:36 a.m.
“Thankfully, these mariners were prepared for the unexpected,” said Lt. Cmdr. Caren Damon, search and rescue mission coordinator at Sector Houston-Galveston. “After realizing they were taking on water, the mariners donned lifejackets and quickly communicated with the Coast Guard the nature of their distress and their location. Our ability to render assistance is greatly increased when mariners make safety a priority. Multiple Coast Guard crews worked for more than 12 hours to ensure these mariners and their vessel made it home safely, but that positive outcome started with these mariner’s having all of their required safety gear onboard.”