EPIRB Takes ‘Search’ Out of Search & Rescue for Sacramento Sailor

Byline: Log News Service

ALAMEDA (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — A Sacramento man was rescued June 13 from his sinking sailboat 400 miles south of San Diego, after it was reportedly hit by a breaching whale and began taking on water.

Max Young, 66, who was aboard his 50-foot sailboat, Reflections, activated his emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) and the Coast Guard Command Center in Alameda received the distress alert at 11:49 p.m. June 12. His EPRIB delivered precise global positioning system coordinates and information on the vessel and the operator.

A Hercules aircraft was diverted to investigate. The Coast Guard also requested assistance from Ocean Virgo, a merchant ship participating in the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER). Ocean Virgo was approximately 60 miles away and immediately headed to the scene.

AMVER is a voluntary system where oceangoing vessels provide route and position information, allowing the Coast Guard to identify possible responders to distress calls.

When the crew of the aircraft located and established radio contact with Young at about 2 a.m. June 13, he was baling water from his boat and had deployed his life raft, in case he had to abandon his boat. The Hercules remained on scene until Ocean Virgo arrived around 4 a.m., and Young was safely taken aboard shortly after sunrise.

“The fact that Young was prepared with all the right safety equipment helped save his life,” Coast Guard Lt. Charles Kelly said.

The Coast Guard reminded boaters that for an effective response, EPIRBs must be registered.

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