Coast Guard rescues sailor on Christmas

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a person on board a sailboat that was taking on water off the Monterey coast Christmas morning.

The Coast Guard received a distress call just before 6:30 a.m. today from the Apster, a 31-foot sailing vessel around 75 miles southwest of Monterey, officials said. Communications were lost due to a poor signal, but rescue crews launched from Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco and Coast Guard Cutter Sockey in the direction from shore the boat had called from.

After the Coast Guard alerted all ships in the area to be on the lookout for Apster, a commercial ship, Medi Venezia, established communication and determined that the Apster had one person on board and was taking on water, officials said. A towing vessel that was towing a barge in the area, Vision, also diverted from around 20 nautical miles away to assist.

The master of Apster was able to slow the flooding and stabilize the boat, but when a Coast Guard crew arrived they removed him by helicopter. He was transported to County Hospital of Monterey Peninsula for medical evaluation.

Coast Guard officials said the mariner’s actions helped make a successful rescue possible.

Lt. William Burtt, Air Station San Francisco aircraft commander, said in a statement:

“He went out to sea properly equipped with survival and communications equipment. … He recognized the severity of his situation and called the Coast Guard early enough to allow our crew to hoist him before conditions deteriorated.”