ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Coast Guard rescued five adults and two children from their disabled 14-foot boat in Tampa Bay, Sunday.
Rescued were Tampa natives, Ivelise Hernandez, 22, Lucy Hernandez, 44, Carlos Martinez, 7, Edrick Martinez, 38, and Romio Martinez, 6; and St. Petersburg natives, Jaime Santana, 40, and Lizette Sanquintin, 51.
At 6:53 p.m. Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders received a call from Edrick Martinez stating a line had wrapped around the propeller and disabled the engine. He stated this was his first trip with the newly purchased 14-foot boat and requested assistance.
Watchstanders directed Edrick Martinez to anchor the boat and issued a Marine Assistance Request Broadcast asking for assistance from other boats in the area. After no reply to the MARB, a 29-foot Response Boat-Small II boatcrew from Station St. Petersburg was launched.
At 7:54 p.m., watchstanders received a 911 transfer call from Pinellas County Dispatch reporting multiple people on the 14-foot boat were panicked, stating they were shooting off flares, and needed emergency assistance. Watchstanders determined the boat was drifting down the channel.
On the transit to assist the seven people, the Coast Guard boatcrew lost function of one of the two RB-S II motors. Still able to use one motor, the crew arrived on scene and rescued the seven people.
“Coast Guard boatcrews train for elaborate rescues like this,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Timothy Abrams, Station St. Petersburg’s officer in charge. “The crew did a phenomenal job identifying the risk factors, mitigating the engine loss and continuing the mission to help seven people in distress.”
The Coast Guard crew transported the boaters to Station St. Petersburg and gave them blankets upon arrival. The rescued boaters made transportation arrangements and headed home.
Lucy Hernandez said they had all the safety gear required on the boat, but they weren’t prepared to be out on a cold night.
“All we were going to do was go for a quick ride, but the rope wrapped around the propeller and then nighttime came so quick. It got so cold,” said Lucy Hernandez.
Over the weekend, Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders coordinated the rescue of 12 people in a 48 hour period.
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“As the Tampa Bay region warms up and more people begin to use the waterways, we urge boaters to check the weather and their safety gear before departing”, said Lt. Jason Holstead, a search and rescue mission coordinator at Sector St. Petersburg. “In addition, boating safety courses are a great resource available through your local Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron.”
Lucy Hernandez summed up the advice for all boaters, “Be prepared.”