Thanks to properly functioning emergency equipment aboard a boat that lost power near the Farallon Islands this morning, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued two fishermen stranded on the distressed vessel.
The Capt. Jack, a 36-foot fishing vessel, had no means of communication when it lost power, but the fisherman activated the boat's emergency position indicating radio beacon, which beams an alert that is relayed to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard received the alert at 4:30 a.m. and contacted a friend of the boat's owner--who confirmed the boat left San Francisco Thursday morning.
A Coast Guard helicopter crew was dispatched from Air Station San Francisco to the boat's approximate position and found the distressed boaters at about 6:15 a.m. after the men fired a signal flare.
"We were able to locate Capt. Jack within seconds after arriving on scene because they had the right emergency equipment and knew how to use it," helicopter pilot Lt. Matthew Kroll said.
"They fired a flare at the perfect time," Kroll said. "Any sooner and we might have missed it, any later and it would have become a hazard to the aircraft."
After the helicopter crew lowered a radio to the men, they were instructed to put on their life jackets before a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Golden Gate towed the Capt. Jack to shore.
The Coast Guard is reminding mariners to ensure that vessels are outfitted with all required safety equipment, which includes signal flares, life jackets for each person on board, and a properly working marine band VHF radio that can send and receive on Channel 16, the international distress channel.