CHARLESTON, S.C. — Coast Guard crews rescued three boaters Saturday after their vessel sank 18-miles east of Cumberland Island, Georgia.

The boaters’ use of a VHF radio and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) led to a rapid rescue.

Coast Guard Sector Charleston Command Center watchstanders received a radio distress call at 8:18 a.m. from the crew of the 54-foot vessel “Bacchus” reporting their vessel was taking on water and they were deploying their life raft. Watchstanders diverted crews from the Coast Guard Cutter Heron, an 87-foot patrol boat, a Coast Guard Station Brunswick 45-foot Response Boat–Medium, and an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Air Station Savannah.

The response crews arrived on scene and were able to rescue all three boaters who were wearing life jackets from the life raft.The boaters were reported to be in good condition and taken to Station Brunswick. 

“This case showed how quickly an emergency can happen on the water.” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Brad Derflinger, Sector Charleston Command Duty Officer. “Fortunately, these mariners were well prepared for the unexpected. They were wearing their lifejackets, communicated their distress over VHF radio, initiated their EPIRB, and safely entered a liferaft before the vessel sank.”

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