Florida

They were sailing toward a fishing spot, but never made it. The Coast Guard went to work.

A group of five were supposed to be sailing to a fishing spot near Naples. A friend called the Coast Guard when they didn’t show up there.

About an hour after midnight on Saturday, a person called the St. Petersburg Coast Guard stating their friends did not arrive at a fishing spot 33 miles west of Naples. The Coast Guard immediately launched a rescue boat and aircrew to search the area.

While the coast guard searched the sea, Collier County Sheriff’s Office went to Bay Shore Marine and checked on families of two on the overdue boat, the coast guard said.

Almost five hours later, the five where found safe aboard a 24-foot angler with mechanical failure and no marine radio. A response boat picked them up at 6:11 a.m. and took them to Gordon’s Pass.

The Coast Guard encourages all mariners to have a marine-band radio to monitor channel 16 and to make someone they trust knows where they are going and when they should return.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of having a VHF marine radio to contact authorities for help as cell phones often don’t have coverage in the offshore environment,” said Capt. Matthew Thompson, St. Petersburg Coast Guard commander.

Miami Herald Real Time Reporter Devoun Cetoute covers breaking news, Florida theme parks and general assignment. He attends the University of Florida and grew up in Miami. Theme parks are on his mind in and out of the office.
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