Sailors from the US Coast Guard St. Petersburg Station rescued seven people after their boat capsized outside of Tampa Bay, Florida, on Sunday, according to a Coast Guard press release. Their rescue was caught on camera as the sailors pulled the near victims out of the ocean to safety.
“Regardless of how a person ends up in the water, wearing a life jacket is the single most important precaution a person can take to increase their chances of survival when situations like this take place,” Capt. Mathew Thompson, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, said in the press release. “This is why we urge all boaters to have life jackets with them.”
The sailors embarked on their rescue mission on a 45-foot medium response boat after a nearby commercial vessel called in the capsized boat. The US Coast Guard 7th District Public Affairs Detachment spokesperson, Erik Villa, told Coffee or Die Magazine that the 20-foot boat had capsized due to an imbalance caused by the number of people aboard, and the weather’s changing to less than ideal conditions. It took approximately four to five hours for the Coast Guard to locate the boat after the initial call was received.
#BreakingNews A @USCG Station Saint Petersburg crew rescued 7 from a capsized vessel half a mile east off Delta Cut and safely transferred them to Port Manatee where emergency services awaited. After being evaluated, they were reported to be in good condition.#Ready #Relevant pic.twitter.com/3J6BTpC3d1
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) September 21, 2020
The boaters did not have a GPS locator on board or enough life jackets, which the Coast Guard stresses as vitally important while boating at any time, regardless of weather conditions. The boaters had two life jackets; one was given to a pregnant female and one to another member of the party.
“Every case is different, we respond to many different vessels,” Villa said. “Sometimes it’s because of weather, too many people on board, or lacking the proper knowledge to operate boats in the ocean. It’s less common in this area because most people are well experienced.”
Only one of the seven people rescued sustained an injury, which the press release described as a “minor leg injury.” The pregnant female and the injured male were both transported by emergency medical services to Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton, Florida.