job well done
We ran the story from onboard the sinking of the Sonoma 30 Cowabunga a few days ago, and now here is the Coast Guard’s report to them…
From the Coast Guard’s perspective your crew members onboard the S/V Cowabunga were extremely well prepared. This preparation expedited your recovery and potentially saved lives. Due to the hand held radio and portable GPS we were able to maintain communications and track your position while in the water. This essentially removed the search from Search and Rescue. Once you entered the water everyone stayed together, improving your chance of survival.
Upon receiving the Mayday call the Coast Guard established communications and determined the number of people on board, location, nature of distress and the description of your vessel. Due to the severity of the situation and the distance offshore we launched all of our available assets in the region. This included an HH-65 helicopter out of Air Station Barbers Point, a 45′ Response Boat out of Station Honolulu, a 47′ Motor Life Boat out of Station Kauai and a C-130 fixed-wing aircraft from Air Station Barbers Point. We were also in the process of launching CGC GALVESTON ISLAND, a 110′ patrol boat stationed in Honolulu. The GALVESTON ISLAND would have enabled us to conduct an extended search if necessary. Luckily in this situation it was unnecessary.
In all honesty, the response by all parties enabled a potentially deadly situation to resolve smoothly. I’m not sure that we will ever know exactly why the S/V Cowabunga sank, but you should that the fact you had a working radio and life jackets very likely saved lives in this instance. Every press release the Coast Guard puts out has some sort of safety pitch in it. This is because the best thing you can do to help yourself on the water is to prepare before you go out. Life jackets, radio’s, EPIRB’s, GPS these items truly do save lives.
Thank you for being prepared and making our job easy.
As I’m sure you have realized by now any Coast Guard response is truly a team effort with everyone does their part. Mr. Darin McCracken was the individual coordinating the Coast Guard response in this instance. The helicopter and boat crews who were on scene did fantastic work as well. One member who I do not think you have included and may think about putting into your story is Petty Officer Kevin Retamar. Petty Officer Retamar was working the radio’s during this instance. He was the person that initially answer that mayday call and was the voice on the radio, keeping you calm and passing information. Mr. McCracken has remarked to me several times that Petty Officer Retamar really did play an essential role in this case. Not only was he talking to you, but he was passing information and directing four other assets at the same time.
This is no easy task. Much of the credit for this case proceeding so smoothly undoubtedly goes to him.