The Coast Guard rescued six people from the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 25 miles from Carabelle, Fla., Saturday.
At approximately 4:30 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile, Ala., received a call from 43-foot vessel Dirty Pool reporting that the vessel was taking on water. The vessel had launched from Carabelle at 7:30 p.m., Friday, with six people aboard for a fishing trip.
Shortly after the initial notification, Sector Mobile received two automatic notifications from "EPIRB" Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons in the vicinity of the Dirty Pool’s reported location.
Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and crew and located the six individuals in the water 25 miles offshore. The group used marine signal flares to alert the Coast Guard crew to their location. All six people were wearing lifejackets.
“The rescued crewmembers demonstrated exceptional preparedness, greatly expediting our recovery efforts,” said Chief Petty Officer Brenda Doris, a search and rescue coordinator at Sector Mobile. “This serves as a reminder to all mariners that preparedness and proper safety gear are critical.”
The aircrew transported the six individuals to awaiting emergency medical service personnel at Apalachicola Bay Municipal Airport in Franklin County, Fla. All six people were able to walk off the aircraft unassisted.
The Coast Guard recommends that mariners wear a properly fitting Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times while underway. According to the Coast Guard's Recreational Boating Statistics 2011 report, the most current verified statistics available, of the 533 people across the nation who drowned in recreational boating accidents in 2011, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.