HONOLULU, Hawaii -- The Coast Guard, and a good Samaritan assisted a 62-year old Australian mariner in his homemade sailing vessel three and a half miles west of the Keehi Harbor, Maui, Sunday.
A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Maui safely towed the 30-foot sailing vessel Kehaar Darwin to Sugar Beach, Maui. Customs and Border Protection personnel will interview the mariner before he resumes his voyage.
“Being disoriented while at sea in a vessel with no communication capabilities aboard can be deadly if not handled quickly,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Schlereth, a boarding officer and engineer at Station Maui. “We commend the good Samaritan for recognizing the complications and contacting the proper authorities to initiate a rescue.”
At 3 p.m., watchstanders at Station Maui received a report from the operator of the commercial passenger vessel Trilogy V stating the master of the Kehaar Darwin flagged him down asking for assistance.
Reportedly he appeared disoriented and was having trouble making it into port. He departed Panama approximately 104 days earlier enroute to Australia; his vessel became beset by weather forcing him into Hawaiian waters. He was without communications equipment, an engine and his sails were in poor condition.
Weather on scene was reportedly 17 to 23 mph winds and seas to 4 feet.
The Coast Guard strongly recommends all mariners ensure they have proper safety gear aboard their vessel prior to departure. Properly fitting life jackets, a VHF radio or some form of communication and signaling devices are examples of safety gear that can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.
The Coast Guard also strongly recommends that all mariners file a float plan with a friend or family member, with an approximate time of return and route. It is also recommended mariners check in regularly especially if plans should change. Mariners should check current and forecasted weather conditions prior to getting underway, and remain aware of changing conditions once on the water.