Coast Guard rescues 5 from disabled fishing boat

- The Coast Guard rescued five people on a disabled fishing boat off the coast of the Chassahowitzka River Saturday.

Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg said it received a distress call from the captain of the fishing boat, Doggie Style on Saturday afternoon to relay a distress call from another fishing boat, Bite Me, which had five people stranded on board, with one said to be in need of medical assistance.

Officials say there were no other boats in the immediate area able to help the crew of Bite Me.

A helicopter was then dispatched from Air Station Clearwater with a rescue swimmer to provide aid. When the flight crew arrived at the disabled boat they found that the person in need of assistance was no longer in need of medical help. The team then hoisted the five people into the helicopter and brought the Bite Me crew to safety. 

The disabled crew members aboard the disabled boat were only able to communicate via marine band radio channel 68. Thankfully, Doggie Style’s crew heard Bite Me’s distress call and was able to relay it to the Coast Guard. Therefore, Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Kerry Looby warns of the importance of always having the proper communications, in good working condition.   

"We ask mariners to always have a working VHF marine band radio capable of monitoring and hailing on channel 16," said Looby, a search-and-rescue coordinator at the sector. "Channel 16 is the only channel the Coast Guard recognizes as the hailing and distress frequency."

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