Coast Guard Rescues Sailors in Hingham Harbor

Looking out from Memorial Park one can see Sarah Island. Photo/New England Boating, David Dauer
Looking out from Memorial Park one can see Sarah Island. Photo/New England Boating.

The Coast Guard rescued a father and son Saturday, March 12, 2016, after their sailboat grounded near Sarah Island in Hingham Harbor, Massachusetts.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Boston’s command center were alerted to the distress at about 5 p.m. after the pair used a cell phone to call for help.

They explained their recently-purchased sailboat grounded while trying to take it across the harbor. They were wearing life jackets but had no radio, no boating safety equipment, and no boating experience.

A 29’ response boat crew from Coast Guard Station Point Allerton, in Hull, quickly arrived on scene and assessed the situation. They determined the boat was too hard aground, transferred the men to the Coast Guard boat, and took them to shore with no reported injuries.

Plans will be made by the two survivors Sunday to salvage the sailboat.

“The problem this time of year is the air temperature is warming but the water is still dangerously cold,” said Brian Fleming, operations unit coordinator in the Coast Guard command center. “The water in Boston Harbor today was 42 degrees, if either of these men ended up in the water this story could have had a devastating ending.”

Fleming explained cold-water shock, which happens when someone falls in cold water and instinctively gasps and inhales water, and hypothermia can be deadly.

“People who plan to go out on a boat are highly encouraged to buy a submergible radio with GPS, they are inexpensive and will alert us to your location if you have an emergency,” said Fleming. “Cell phones are an unreliable way to contact people on shore.”

Fleming said boating safety starts on shore and stressed the importance of planning ahead. Taking a boating safety class, having boating safety equipment, and filing a float plan are all ways to greatly increase your chances surviving an emergency.