Coast Guard Rescue Brings Reminder to Winter Mariners

"In the winter, the marine environment is rougher and colder," said David Umberger, command duty officer at the Sector Delaware Bay command center. "This case might not have had such a good outcome if the captain and crew of the Ocean Pearl hadn't been prepared for an emergency. Keeping a properly-registered EPIRB, well-maintained cold-water survival gear, and functioning communications equipment on board your vessel will save your life."

The Dec. 8 rescue by U.S. Coast Guard personnel of four people from a life raft after a commercial fishing boat caught fire about 16 miles southeast of Cape May, N.J., offers an important lesson for winter mariners.

USCG's news release reports that crew members aboard the 75-foot fishing vessel Ocean Pearl activated Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons and abandoned ship after an electrical fire ignited on the ship around 10:30 a.m. Aboard their life raft, the Ocean Pearl's crew used a handheld radio to contact watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay's command center. Two Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crews from Station Cape May and the crew of Cutter Crocodile, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Cape May, launched to assist.

"When the Coast Guard crews arrived on scene, they found the four men dressed in survival suits aboard the life raft. One of the RB-M crews took the men aboard and brought them ashore. No injuries were reported," the release states. It says the Ocean Pearl's owner is coordinating the salvage of the vessel.

"In the winter, the marine environment is rougher and colder," said David Umberger, command duty officer at the Sector Delaware Bay command center. "This case might not have had such a good outcome if the captain and crew of the Ocean Pearl hadn't been prepared for an emergency. Keeping a properly-registered EPIRB, well-maintained cold-water survival gear, and functioning communications equipment on board your vessel will save your life."

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