During the period from Nov. 18 to Dec. 1, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s offshore patrol vessel, Guardian, received a call for service from the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) that a 42 foot vessel was sinking approximately 40 miles offshore with two individuals aboard.
Lt. Marlow and Officers Boyd, Fletcher, Miller and Rice responded in the rough conditions. As the Guardian travelled offshore, a USCG rescue helicopter came on scene and lowered a pump to the sinking vessel. The prevailing conditions and the damaged vessel continued to take on water and eventually sank, resulting in the individuals being forced to abandon the vessel. The USCG sent a rescue swimmer in to recover the individuals and they were safely returned to shore.
In a separate incident, the Guardian received a call for service from the USCG that a 60-foot commercial vessel was not operational and was taking on water just offshore of Little St. George Island. On board the Guardian, Lt. Marlow and Officers Matechik, Nelson and Raker responded in the rough conditions.
The commercial vessel was positioned in shallow water and rough seas. The vessel had some damage resulting in the vessel taking on water and unable to start the engines and operate out of the shallow shoal area. The crew passed a battery to the disabled vessel in an attempt to start the engines. A USCG rescue helicopter arrived on scene and lowered a dewatering pump to the Guardian who in turn brought the pump to the vessel to assist with water evacuation from the vessel’s hull. The vessel’s crew maintained efforts to dewater the vessel and eventually the vessel started and was operated out of the dangerous area and unsafe conditions and returned to port safely.