Crew of Sinking Fishing Boat Rescued off Humboldt Bay

The Humboldt Bay entrance and south jetty (USCG / PO2 Cory Mendenhall)

Published Jan 7, 2020 12:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a man from a sinking fishing vessel near the entrance channel at Humboldt Bay, California on Sunday evening. 

A crewmember aboard the fishing vessel Elly notified Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders at about 1910 hours that the vessel was sinking near the south jetty of the Humboldt Bay entrance.

The watchstanders dispatched a motor lifeboat crew and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew to respond.

The Dolphin crew used a direction-finding radio to find the vessel’s EPIRB and located a debris field in the surf line south of the jetty, guiding them to the vessel’s life-raft and the crew on the beach.

The helicopter lowered its rescue swimmer to evaluate the condition of the crew. One crew member with a head injury was medevaced to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Eureka. The two uninjured crew members were retrieved by a Humboldt County Sheriff deputy who had also responded to the scene.

“This case is a great example of how having the right survival equipment aboard and being proficient in it’s use saves lives,” said Cmdr. Brendan Hilleary,  the Sector Humboldt Bay chief of response. “The vessel’s crew recognized the severity of their situation, made a distress call on their VHF radio, activated a properly registered EPIRB, wore personal flotation devices and abandoned ship into their life raft. They did everything right to help our crews get to them quickly and accurately.”