U.S. Navy Finds Missing Sailor off Hawaii After Week-Long Search

Grenz' disabled sailboat, the Epic, adrift off Oahu (USCG)

Published Sep 12, 2021 8:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Friday, one single-handed sailor got very lucky: after a week-long search, a U.S. Navy patrol aircraft located him off the coast of Oahu and vectored in other assets to assist. 

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter William Hart rescued 67-year-old skipper Philip Grenz, who was last seen on Sept. 2, and brought him back to Oahu. He is reported to be in stable condition.

“With the combined effort from our partners in this search, we were able to find Mr. Grenz and bring him back to safety,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Lucas Correia, an operations specialist for Sector Honolulu. “Every agency played a vital role in this rescue by creating a force multiplier to cover such an immense area.”

At 0125 hours on Saturday, Sector Honolulu received a report that Grenz had departed Nawiliwili Harbor and had not arrived at his next port of call in Haleiwa, Oahu. Watchstanders launched Coast Guard search crews, and it activated members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, who physically checked over 20 harbors, boat ramps, and marinas to see if Grenz might have come into port on Oahu or Kauai.

At 1030 hours on Thursday, a Navy P-8 Poseidon aircrew located the missing vessel southwest of Oahu. A Coast Guard C-130 aircrew dropped Grenz a rescue kit with radio, water, and food until more help could arrive.

The nearby oil tanker Delta Eurydice volunteered her assistance and remained nearby until the cutter Hart arrived on scene. The cutter crew reached the disabled sailboat after 0700 hours Friday and recovered Grenz, then headed back to Oahu.

Sector Honolulu issued a broadcast to mariners to alert them of the disabled vessel’s location.