ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The Coast Guard rescued a man Thursday after his boat took on water 12 miles west of John’s Pass.
At 2:33 p.m. watch standers from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a mayday call via VHF-FM marine band radio channel 16. A man stated his 20-foot boat was taking on water and was in need of emergency assistance.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter air crew from Air Station Clearwater was diverted and arrived on scene to the man using a plastic cup to bail out rising water. The man stated his bilge pump had stopped working.
The air crew directed the man to keep the boat moving, and lowered a dewatering pump and rescue swimmer, Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Silvious, to the boat.
The water was a half inch from the top of the boat’s batteries and if the boat stopped moving, the man would have been in the water said Silvious.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office marine unit and Coast Guard Station Sand Key escorted the man and his boat to the boater’s residential dock on Treasure Island.
“Quick thinking and interagency coordination greatly contributed to saving this mariner’s life,” Silvious said. “It’s what we train to do every day.”