The Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater HC-130 Hercules aircrew located the vessel around 7:00 a.m. and confirmed with a nearby good Samaritan the two men aboard where the overdue fishermen who had a dead boat battery.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a report at 4:00 a.m. from a wife that her husband and friend where fishing in a 19-foot Trophy vessel offshore and should have returned Thursday evening. Coast Guard Station Yankeetown, Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC), and Citrus County marine units also responded with FWC arriving to the vessel first.
«With the high amount of small recreational vessels going offshore during red snapper season, it is imperative that recreational boaters have a ‘float plan’ left with a friend or family member,» said Lt. Karinne Merical, a search and rescue coordinator at Sector St. Petersburg. «If the Coast Guard has trip details on the vessel’s intended route, vessel description, fishing area and duration of trip, it is much easier for us to develop a search area and quickly locate them.»
Mariners can use the free Coast Guard mobile app to create a float plan or fill out one from http://floatplancentral.cgaux.org/. A VHF marine radio and EPIRB are also vital pieces of equipment on any boating venture to communicate distress or need for assistance.