Coast Guard Rescues Overdue Mariner 270 Miles Off Hatteras, North Carolina
November 18, 2023
CAPE MAY, N.J. – In a dramatic rescue operation, Coast Guard crews successfully saved an overdue mariner who was found 270 miles off the coast of Hatteras, North Carolina on Wednesday.
The rescue mission was initiated after the Coast Guard Sector New York watchstanders received a distress call from the family of the mariner. The family reported a loss of communication with the mariner, who had departed from Jersey City, New Jersey, bound for Bermuda. The last contact with the mariner occurred on November 6, and by Tuesday, he was officially considered overdue.
Upon receiving the distress call, watchstanders from the Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center took charge of the search and rescue efforts. They coordinated the deployment of assets from the Coast Guard’s First and Fifth districts and issued an urgent marine information broadcast (UMIB).
Fortunately, the sailing vessel Time Bandit intercepted the UMIB and stumbled upon an adrift sailing vessel that matched the description of the overdue mariner’s boat. The Time Bandit crew made contact with the mariner, but due to challenging on-scene conditions, the Coast Guard advised against an at-sea transfer.
The Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson (WPC 1120), based in Cape May, New Jersey, promptly arrived at the scene on Wednesday. The crew safely transferred the mariner aboard the cutter, and he was transported in stable condition. On Thursday, the mariner was joyfully reunited with his family at the Coast Guard Training Center Cape May.
Cmdr. Wes Geyer, the search and rescue mission coordinator for Coast Guard Atlantic Area, expressed relief and happiness at the successful rescue operation. He emphasized the immense challenge faced by search and rescue teams, as the search area for this case was nearly twice the size of Texas, and the treacherous seas posed a significant threat. Cmdr. Geyer urged all mariners venturing offshore to carry a properly registered Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), which can greatly aid in locating individuals during emergencies.
The Coast Guard also dispatched additional assets to assist in the search and rescue case, including an HC-130 Hercules crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., an MH-60 helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, and an HC-144 crew from Air Station Cape Cod, Mass.
To ensure the safety of mariners, it is essential to register your EPIRB. Visit the Register your Beacon | SARSAT website for more information on how to properly register your device.
The Coast Guard Atlantic Area, based in Portsmouth, Virginia, is responsible for overseeing all Coast Guard operations from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf.