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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesBoat Rescued Off St. John After Engine Quits

Boat Rescued Off St. John After Engine Quits

A 13-foot Boston Whaler lost power about two miles off Fish Bay on the south side of St. John Thursday, but the boat and its captain were rescued in a joint U.S. Coast Guard, V.I. National Park and St. John Rescue operation.

“We put him in our boat and towed the vessel,” Lloyd Morris, chief of enforcement at the park, said Friday.

The man had left for a fishing trip Thursday morning.

Neither Morris nor Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad had the man’s name, but Castrodad said he was 56. He was the only person in the Boston Whaler.

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The Coast Guard got a call that the boat was overdue at 7:50 p.m. Thursday from the man’s wife. According to Castrodad, a Coast Guard boat from St. Thomas and a helicopter from the Coast Guard’s Borinquen, Puerto Rico’s base responded to the call for help.

Subsequently, the man was able to make contact with his wife on shore.

The Coast Guard located the vessel and towed it to St. John. The park boat continued towing it to its Cruz Bay dock.

St. John resident Nancy Hedlund, who sent an email to the Source Answer Desk, spotted the activity from two locations on the island’s south side.

“There was a boat with blue flashing lights and a boat with red flashing lights,” she said.

She then spotted a helicopter flying up and down the south coast.

Castrodad said the seas were heavy, with swells reaching eight to 10 feet. He urged mariners and swimmers to use caution when venturing out in such weather.

“The conditions are dangerous,” he said.

Castrodad sent out a list of boating and water safety tips for mariners to follow.

  • Check the weather before casting off and monitor the weather by radio continuously.
  • It is recommended that everyone always wear a life jacket when in the water, but at a minimum have a properly fitting life jacket for every person on board and ensure that they are quickly accessible. Often, when trouble happens, it happens fast.
  • Know the boat you are on, including the location and operation of all safety gear, including a VHF-marine radio. This is especially true if renting or borrowing a boat that you may not be familiar with.
  • Do not rely on cell phones as a primary means of distress communication. Coverage is unreliable and communications are only point-to-point, limiting the chances of a Good Samaritan coming to your aid and if you get cut-off the call may not be reestablished. Radio is your best bet to communicate trouble and get help to you quickly.
  • A float plan should be prepared and shared with friends and family. That will give them an idea of where you are going and when you will return home. The float plan has all pertinent information about your boat, increasing your chances of being rescued. You can download a float plan from the Coast Guard website.
  • You can also contact the Coast Guard Auxiliary for a free vessel safety check log on and click on "I Want a VSC" to find a Vessel Examiner near you.
  • Taking a safe boating class arms you with valuable information.
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