NEWS from BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
BoatUS Press Room at www.BoatUS.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com
Storm Sinks Pirate Ship In Bahamas
BoatUS Rental Emergency Beacon and
Good Samaritans Save Crew of Five
ALEXANDRIA, VA, March 3, 2008 – A rented emergency rescue beacon from the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and good Samaritans aboard a local dive boat helped prevent the loss of five lives aboard a weather beaten “pirate” ship that took on water and sank Wednesday, February 27 near the Bahamas.
The Treasure Seeker, a 65-foot, diesel-powered pirate ship replica was being relocated from St. Petersburg, FL to a new business location in St. Thomas, USVI when it experienced stormy sea conditions on the evening of February 26. A routine crew check early Wednesday morning found water rising in the bilge and after it was determined it could not be fixed, the Treasure Seeker’s captain activated their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) which had been acquired through the BoatUS EPIRB Rental Program.
Unbeknownst to Treasure Seeker’s crew, the US Coast Guard in Miami, FL received the EPIRB’s distress signal – which includes GPS location information - and immediately relayed the emergency call to local mariners in the Bahamas. The 104-foot dive boat SV Juliet, which was departing Turks and Caicos at the time, heard the USCG call and diverted 45 miles to the sinking boat’s location and safely removed all five persons from Treasure Seeker.
Soon afterward, with a USCG helicopter hovering on scene, the twin-masted excursion vessel disappeared below the waves. There was no time to salvage any of the crew’s personal possessions. The SV Juliet then safely returned Treasure Seeker’s crew to Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos.
The captain of the “pirate” ship later commented that without the EPIRB from BoatU.S., the rescue most likely would not have been successful because the only other calls for help – May Days sent over the vessel’s VHF radio – never received a response.
The BoatU.S. Foundation EPIRB Rental Program is funded by the voluntary contributions of 650,000 BoatUS members. The $750 EPIRBs can be rented from the Foundation for as little as $40 a week, and are intended to fill the short-term safety need for occasional offshore passages. For more information, call 888-663-7472 or visit http://www.BoatUS.com/foundation/epirb