Coast Guard Rescues Mariners Stranded Near Santa Cruz Island

Image: U.S. Coast Guard.

A pair of stranded mariners were able to make it home for Thanksgiving with help from the U.S. Coast Guard, the agency said Friday, Nov. 25.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles–Long Beach command center were alerted to an activated Digital Selective Calling (DSC) distress signal near Santa Cruz at 10 a.m. on Nov. 24.

After making radio calls on VHF Channel 16, watchstanders figured out that the signal was coming from sailing vessel LULA, which ran aground in the area.

Coast Guard officials deployed a helicopter from Forward Operating Base Point Mugu and a 45-foot response vessel from Coast Guard Station Channel Islands to rescue the mariners, which left the vessel while on the rocks and left the vessel adrift, the agency said.

They were picked up by the helicopter and transported to Point Mugu.

“Thankfully, they had a DSC-equipped radio which is how we were able to locate them,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Tate Lewis, a member of the helicopter rescue team.

Lt. Cmdr. Quentin Long, the search and rescue mission coordinator at Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach said that this case is a great example of why having multiple means to communicate distress to the Coast Guard is worth the investment.

“Before the survivors were able to make a direct call to our command center and after abandoning their vessel, we had already received good locational data for a reasonable search area, based on the DSC alert,” Long said. “We advise the boating public to familiarize themselves with this function on their radios, ensure the registration information is current, and use it if ever in distress.”

By Karen Robes Meeks