The Coast Guard Air Station Savannahcrew hoisted the man and transported him to Cecil Airport in good condition.
At 7:25 p.m. Wednesday, Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville command center watchstanders received a call from the spouse of the operator of a 26-foot sailing vessel, stating her husband’s vessel was disabled and out of gas near the Northeast Florida Regional Airport on the Intracoastal Waterway and his cell phone had died with no other means of communication on board.
A Coast Guard Station Mayport 29-foot Response Boat-Small crew launched to assist but was unable to reach the vessel due to water depth. The RB-S crew unsuccessfully attempted to locate and establish communication with the operator after using a louder hailer, lights, sirens and flares.
A Coast Guard Air Station Savannah MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew launched to help locate the operator. Once on scene, the Dolphin crew began searching and could not locate the operator or lower a rescue swimmer due to safety concerns. After refueling and returning to the scene, the Dolphin crew was able to locate him on his vessel.
«Having a VHF marine radio is the most reliable piece of communications equipment you can have aboard your vessel,» said Senior Chief Petty Officer Nathan Webb, command center supervisor. » If you are in distress, calling for help on a VHF marine radio will not only alert the Coast Guard and other first responders of your situation, but it will alert nearby mariners who may be able to assist. A cell phone can be an added safety measure to have aboard your vessel, but should not be your only means of communication.»
The owner will make arrangements to salvage the vessel.