Coast Guard assists man on sailboat 20 miles off Ocracoke

By on December 5, 2017

A Station Hatteras Inlet boatcrew prepares to take the Emerald City under tow. (USCG PO1 Joseph Habel)

The Coast Guard assisted a man after his sailboat began taking on water early Tuesday morning off Ocracoke Inlet.

“This mariner called for help right away instead of waiting for a minor problem to become something much worse,” said Craig Sanders, the operations unit controller for the case. “He had the right communications equipment on board, and his quick call for help enabled our crews to respond in a timely manner.”

The man contacted the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center in Wilmington on VHF-FM channel 16 at 3:34 a.m., reporting that his 33-foot sailboat, Emerald City, was taking on water about 20 miles east of the entrance to Ocracoke Inlet.

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Crews aboard two 47-foot Motor Life Boats from Station Hatteras Inlet and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City launched to assist.

Once on scene, the helicopter crew lowered a dewatering pump and rescue swimmer to the sailboat to assess the situation. Neither rescue swimmer nor boat operator could discern the source of the leak, although the vessel had stopped taking on water.

The boat crews arrived on scene and passed another dewatering pump to the sailboat to remove the water. The aircrew departed and one of the boat crews transported the vessel’s owner back to Station Hatteras Inlet.

Due to six-foot breaking waves at the entrances to both Hatteras and Ocracoke Inlets, the other boat crew towed the sailboat to a knoll between the inlets, about three miles offshore.

The sailboat’s owner is making plans to recover the vessel Wednesday.

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