Tour boat grounds off Alaska; 14 evacuated

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(JUNEAU, Alaska) — The Coast Guard cutter Naushon crew and a Coast Guard Station Juneau 25-foot response boat-small crew assisted a tour vessel that ran aground in the vicinity of Lincoln Island near Juneau on Monday.

The Naushon crew safely evacuated 14 passengers from the Voyager and assisted the responding salvage vessel in refloating the grounded vessel.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center watchstanders received a report of the grounded vessel Monday afternoon, immediately diverted the Naushon crew from a patrol and launched the Station Juneau RB-S crew.

The Naushon's small boat crew ferried passengers from Little Island, where the Voyager ran aground, to other nearby tour vessels. The RB-S crew rendezvoused with and escorted the tour vessels to shore.

"The waterways throughout southeast Alaska provide significant navigational challenges," said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Boyer, chief of prevention, Sector Juneau. "It is imperative that recreational and commercial vessel operators utilize every available navigation asset and have familiarity with the waters they are operating on."

Once refloated, the Naushon crew escorted Voyager safely back to Auke Bay.

Sector Juneau crews have responded to numerous vessel grounding reports this summer. They advise boaters to maintain constant awareness of position and surroundings, which will greatly decrease these groundings, the subsequent vessel damage and risk to the crews and passengers.

The Coast Guard cutter Naushon is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Ketchikan.

Weather on scene was reported as 5 mph winds, 1-foot seas and five miles of visibility.

By Professional Mariner Staff