AMVER ship rescues trio as boat takes on water in Gulf

(NEW ORLEANS) — The U.S. Coast Guard and the cruise ship Carnival Valor rescued three boaters aboard a vessel taking on water 386 miles off the coast of Alabama on Sunday.

Coast Guard District Eight watch standers received an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) alert at 7:22 a.m. from the 44-foot recreational vessel Snail Mail. Watch standers contacted the owner of Snail Mail who stated they were shoreside, but in contact with the three boaters aboard the boat via a SPOT GPS device and confirmed Snail Mail was taking on water.

Carnival Valor at Port Canaveral, Fla., in 2016. FlipFlopFlorida/Flickr photo

Using the automated mutual-assistance vessel rescue system (AMVER) to survey the area around Snail Mail for nearby commercial vessels, watch standers identified and directed Carnival Valor to assist the distressed vessel. Meanwhile, watch standers also coordinated the launch of an Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry air crew to assist.

The Ocean Sentry air crew located Snail Mail and vectored Carnival Valor to its location. The cruise ship arrived on scene, launched its rescue boat, rescued all three boaters and transferred them back to the ship to be medically evaluated by the ship’s doctor.

All three boaters were reported to be in stable condition.

“Special thanks to the crew of the Carnival Valor for rescuing all three people aboard the sinking vessel,” said Lt. j.g. Gretchen Gochnour, a command duty officer at the District Eight Command Center. “The Coast Guard urges the boating public to emulate the Snail Mail by having an EPIRB and geolocating devices onboard before taking to the sea. Moreover, the Coast Guard encourages commercial mariners to participate in AMVER and self-report their location as this played a pivotal role in this rescue.”

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller