CLEARWATER - A Coast Guard crew pulled two people out of the water Saturday morning after their 19-foot boat capsized offshore near Sand Key in sight of the Belleair Beach Causeway.
A Good Samaritan notified Coast Guard Station Sand Key about 9 a.m. of a boat taking on water and capsizing with two people aboard. A 24-foot special purpose craft - shallow water boatcrew from the station arrived on scene, pulled the two people from the water with no medical concerns and transported them to the Belleair boat ramp.
"Both gentlemen were partially in the water when we arrived on scene, their lifejackets had already drifted away," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Sappo, a crewmember at the station. "Everyone is very lucky we got there when we did. Our concern is that because they were not wearing their lifejackets initially, it could have been a much different outcome. We want to stress the Coast Guard may not be able to get there in time, so wear your lifejackets at all times."
Coast Guard reminds boaters to stay safe
ST. PETERSBURG - In the wake of numerous recent emergencies on the water, the Coast Guard is reminding mariners to play it safe in the Tampa Bay area.
"Just a few simple practices can keep most mariners out of trouble at sea," said Capt. Gregory Case, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg's commanding officer.
Make sure a friend or relative knows your float plan. A float plan states where you are going and how many people are aboard your vessel. It also gives a vessel description, details your destination and what time you expect to arrive there. If you are delayed for some reason, make sure you let someone know.
Have working communication equipment aboard your vessel. A VHF-FM radio is the best method of communication while on the water. Although cell phones are a good backup, they can be unreliable due to gaps in coverage area and the inevitable dead battery.
Make certain to check the local weather prior to departing the dock. Weather can change rapidly, so mariners planning on making way should keep a watchful eye on the forecast conditions.
Wear your life jacket! More than 90 percent of boaters who drown were not wearing their life jackets. In an emergency there might not be enough time to put one on, so wearing one at all times may save your life.
Inspect your boat to avoid breakdowns that often lead to tragedy in the water. Obtain a free, no-fault vessel safety check, which can be conducted by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, before heading out on the water. The safety checks are courtesy examinations of your vessel, verifying the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations.
Below are approximate prices for boating safety equipment.