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Aug-10-2008 20:34printcomments

Coast Guard Responds to Sinking Vessel Near Cannon Beach

The men had life jackets and other emergency equipment that the Coast Guard says make a huge difference.

Coast Guard helicopter
Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

(CANNON BEACH, Ore.) - The Coast Guard assisted a capsized vessel with four men on board off of Cannon Beach, Oregon, Sunday morning. The Coast Guard Group in Astoria says they received a mayday call at 6:10 AM, from a 22-foot dory with four men on board. The caller said they were taking on water outside of the surf line off of Cannon Beach and were in need of immediate assistance.

The Coast Guard 13th District Command Center also received a position from the vessel's Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) that had been activated by one of the men. This allowed rescue agencies to be alerted with accurate information concerning the location of the boat.

Around this time, the Air Station Astoria launched an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to the scene. Additionally, two 47-foot motor lifeboat crews from Station Cape Disappointment, Washington, and one 47-foot motor lifeboat crew from Station Tillamook Bay, Oregon, were also launched to assist.

The helicopter crew arrived at the dory at 6:32 AM, and noticed that one man had made it to the beach and two more were almost to the shore. The helicopter crew lowered a rescue swimmer into the water to assist the last man in swimming to shore.

Cannon Beach Fire Rescue arrived on the beach ready to give medical attention if necessary. All four of the men were wearing their life jackets and declined medical attention.

"Because they were wearing life jackets, especially in the surf zone, it greatly increased their chances of survival," said John Howk, a controller for the 13th Coast Guard District Command Center.

The Coast Guard says it is a great reminder that life jackets save lives.

"Statistics show that a person's chance of survival greatly improves when wearing a life jacket. All children under the age of 12 and who weigh less than 90 pounds are required to wear a life jacket at all times while boating. Before boating, be sure that all life jackets are in good shape, fit properly and are stowed in an easily accessible location."

The Coast Guard says they encourage all boaters to use a common sense approach and a know-before-you-go attitude before and during a boating trip. Life jackets, radios, navigation equipment and weather forecasts are necessary preparations whenever you venture out on your boat. Have your vessel inspected by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, file a float plan, and ensure you and your passengers are familiar with all safety equipment.

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