Best Day On the Water: Out Of The Mist Comes The Cavalry!

By Robert Adams

U.S. Coast rescue illustration

My best friend, Randy, and I set out for some ocean fishing on the Indian River Inlet in Delaware, one of my first trips offshore in my new 19-foot Trophy. It was foggy as we departed in early morning, though it usually burns off as the sun rises. We puttered out as planned, then fished all day about 10 miles offshore. The fog never lifted. Late in the afternoon we decided to have one more drift before heading in. As fate would have it, the new engine wouldn’t start.

We called for help on VHF channel 16. Surprisingly, a response came from the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mako. The officer inquired about our situation, and after I keyed the mic for 10 seconds as instructed, he pinpointed our location. He told us that they don’t normally respond to situations like ours, usually leaving it to the pros like TowBoatUS, but they were close by, so they offered to help.

Half an hour later, Mako emerged from the fog, stopped about a quarter mile away, and dispatched a crewed inflatable. With the mechanical skill of the Coast Guard on full display, they restarted the engine, then asked us to head back to shore while calling every 10 minutes until we were safely in the bay.

So grateful for the assistance we received that day, I joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Now along with fellow auxiliarists, I get to help other boaters just like Randy and me. 

— Published: June/July 2018

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