Four people were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter crew from a grounded vessel near Tangier Island, Md., just after midnight Saturday.
Barry Walker, 34, the owner of a 36-foot boat sent a distress signal at about 6 p.m. Friday, reporting he had run aground with his 14-year-old son aboard, according to a statement released by the Coast Guard.
Two agencies responded, but the Coast Guard crew couldn’t reach the distressed boaters because the water was so low around the island.
A Virginia Marine Police boat reached the boaters and took them onboard, but with the extra weight their boat was grounded, too.
Shortly after midnight, a Coast Guard crew from Air Station Elizabeth City arrived on scene in an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. The crew lifted the two boaters and the two marine police boat crewmembers from the police vessel.
Walker and his son were taken to Emergency Medical Services at the Tangier Island Airport. No injuries were reported.
Both boats were recovered after high tide.
At the time of the rescue, the temperature was 46 degrees, and the water temperature was 43 degrees. Wind was recorded at 10 to 15 knots and there were two-to-three foot seas, according to the statement.
“Before we go out on a patrol, we do a course layout,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Hupp, the Coast Guard’s responding coxswain. “Boaters should take measures to layout their course beforehand taking the draft of their vessel, water depths and preferred channels into consideration.
"Boaters should also be sure to have all the necessary equipment for a voyage, not just a GPS and a radio, but the proper protective equipment in case they find themselves in trouble. Being in the winter months it is imperative that boaters have the proper gear to keep them warm incase they have to await assistance or end up in the water. Lastly, boaters should always pay attention to weather and tide conditions.”