19 June, 2008 - The Coast Guard First District Command Center, Boston, received recreational boat Canyon Bound’s 406 megahertz EPIRB, emergency distress electronic beacon signal via a SARSAT satellite. Coast Guard Sectors Long Island Sound, Delaware Bay and New York also received “Mayday” calls stating the vessel was taking on water. All Coast Guard Sectors issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast informing mariners of an imminent Search and Rescue (SAR) event.
Fortunately Rescue 21 technology has been installed at each of these Coast Guard Sectors. Sector Long Island Sound’s Rescue 21 system provided a line of bearing to confirm the 406 EPIRB’s general location. Sector Delaware Bay validated the positional information via triangulated lines of bearing.
With the verified Rescue 21 data, the Coast Guard launched a 47’ Motor Lifeboat from Station Fire Island, and both a HH-60 medium-range recovery helicopter and a HU-25 medium range surveillance aircraft were diverted towards the scene. Minutes later, the HH-60 reported they were “on-site” and had safely recovered two mariners from the sunken vessel. The 47’ boat continued to the scene and determined the Canyon Bound sank in 107 fathoms, approximately 17 nautical miles south of Fire Island. There was no apparent pollution and the site was not a hazard to navigation.
In this SAR case each geographically dispersed Coast Guard unit held an important piece of data. The new capabilities gained by the Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 system put the data together to provide the mariner’s exact location. Coast Guard rescuers could then concentrate their efforts to successfully locate and save their lives. Case closed!