Coast Guard responds to disabled watercraft off Guam

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A 45-foot Response Boat Ð Medium from U.S. Coast Guard. (Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Henry G. Dunphy)

SANTA RITA, Guam — The Coast Guard rescued two Jetski operators when one fell overboard, and the craft was disabled off Agat, Sunday.

A Station Apra Harbor 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew rescued the man from the water and towed the Jetski back to Agat Marina. There were no injuries reported.

“Our RB-M crew was conducting training in the area when we received the digital distress message,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Luke Galat, a Joint Rescue Sub-Center Guam watchstander. “The crew was able to respond quickly and once on scene, retrieve the overboard person. It is for just such situations we train.”

At 10:44 p.m., JRSC Guam watchstanders received a VHF-FM digital selective calling (DSC) distress message from a position two miles south of Agat. The watchstanders immediately made call-outs to the sender with no reply. At the same time, a nearby Navy vessel reported they, too, received the call and were responding.

JRSC Guam watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast notice to mariners and diverted the RB-M crew. Upon arriving at the location, responders quickly found the Jetski with one person aboard, and the second person in the water nearby. They recovered him from the water and put the watercraft in tow.

Once aboard, the man reported he had fallen overboard when accidentally dropping the watercraft’s keys and confirmed he sent the distress call.

The weather on scene was winds of 11 mph and seas up to four feet. Watercraft are equipped with lanyards and kill switches to ensure the craft does not continue to operate without the rider should they become disconnected from the craft. The use of such safeguards is highly encouraged to prevent injury and abandonment.

The ocean can be unpredictable in the best conditions. For this reason the Coast Guard recommends waterway users always wear lifejackets when on their watercraft.