TOMS RIVER, NJ – Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City rescued two fishermen after their boat caught fire approximately 34 miles east of Barnegat Inlet, N.J., Thursday.
Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay received a mayday call via VHF Channel 16 from one of the fishermen aboard the 53-foot Sport Fisher fishing vessel ‘Reel E Bugging’ stating their vessel engines were engulfed in flames and they needed immediate assistance.
The fishermen were preparing to abandon ship by donning life jackets and deploying their life raft.
Sector Delaware Bay watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast notifying vessels in the area of the situation and launched the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from and two 47-foot Motor Lifeboat boatcrews from Coast Guard Station Manasquan Inlet and Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light to the scene.
Once on scene, the Dolphin aircrew spotted the life raft and was able to safely hoist both fishermen and transport them to Monmouth Executive Airport in Wall Township, N.J., where they were met by family.
No injuries were reported.
A Coast Guard marine safety information bulletin was issued notifying mariners in the area of potential debris from the vessel fire.
“Today’s case was a perfect example of a unified effort between prepared boaters, the sector, small boats and the air station,” said Lt. j.g. Matt Devlin, a Dolphin helicopter pilot at Air Station Atlantic City. “We are happy that the mariners realized they were in distress and we were able to be there quickly. Ultimately their preparedness led to our success.”