Their fishing boat was taking on water, so the Coast Guard came to help

Gwen Filosa
·2 min read

The U.S. Coast Guard helped a 40-foot fishing boat crew on Thursday after the crew launched two flares in distress about 80 miles southwest of Key West.

The crew of the Santa Maria said the boat was taking on water and had a problem with the steering, according to the Coast Guard.

“The fishing crew repaired the issues and was heading to Conch Harbor Marina,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The Coast Guard escorted the boat back to Key West to ensure the boat didn’t break down again, a spokeswoman said.

A nearby good Samaritan saw the flares, reported the emergency to Coast Guard Sector Key West and stayed within radar contact of the Santa Maria until Coast Guard crews arrived.

An HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew arrived first and got in touch with the Santa Maria’s crew.

The air crew stayed on scene until Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge’s crew arrived.

The cutter escorted the vessel as far as the Key West sea buoy.

A Station Key West crew took over the escort and brought the fishing boat back to the marina in Key West.

“Having good-working flares on board ensured we knew this vessel was in distress and could go assist,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Kellyann Sage of Sector Key West. “It’s also imperative to ensure your boat has a good working radio and to check if your life jackets and other safety equipment is in good working condition.”

The Coast Guard said boaters should use VHF Channel 16 to report an emergency.