Officials said the operator of the 18-foot (5.5 meter) disabled vessel used a VHF-FM radio to contact the Coast Guard’s Delaware Bay sector for help Saturday afternoon, saying the vessel was disabled and needed help getting to shore.
The operator said three people were aboard and that his vessel was anchored in Great Bay in Little Egg Harbor Township less than a mile (kilometer) from the Great Bay Marina. Shortly after the initial call, the operator said his boat was going down because of inclement weather.
Coast Guard officials said they rerouted an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter that was already in the air for routine training.
A TowBoatUS commercial salvage team also heard the distress call and went to the scene, reporting to the Coast Guard that the vessel had capsized and its three occupants were clinging to the overturned hull. Officials said shallow water and weather conditions prevented them from direct aid, but they kept monitoring the situation and updating rescuers.
When the Coast Guard helicopter arrived, a rescue swimmer entered the water and helped the crew hoist all three people to safety They were taken to the Coast Guard’s Atlantic City air station, where they were met by emergency medical services personnel. No injuries were reported.