Coast Guard rescues three

Sunday, June 28, 2009 4:08 PM
Last updated 7:07 PM
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Coast Guard crews rescued three boaters early this morning after a 23-foot fishing boat capsized about 20 miles east of St. Marys, Ga.

Kevin Gilman, 25, Allan White, 48, and Lawrence White, 44, were in good condition after the rescue, the Coast Guard reported. According to the report, the three men said they were fishing when their boat capsized shortly after midnight, throwing them into the water. Two of the men climbed on the hull of the boat while the third remained in the water until rescue crews arrived about two hours later.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Savannah, Ga., and a rescue boat from Mayport responded, alerted by a distress signal from the craft's emergency position indicating radio beacon. The helicopter plucked a man from the water while the rescue boat took in the two men from the capsized boat's hull.

The Coast Guard said it was the second rescue of the weekend involving a signal from a boat's emergency radio beacon. Six people were saved Saturday after their boat became disabled about 20 miles out from Ponce de Leon Inlet.

The emergency beacons are not required equipment for boaters, but Petty Officer Cindy Beckert, a Coast Guard spokeswoman, said they are valuable pieces of safety equipment. They send automatic signals to the Coast Guard when they become wet, she said.

"We're trying to get across how important they are on a boat," she said. "It's hard to communicate with shore if your cell phone gets wet or if you can't reach your radio if your boat capsizes."

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