FREEPORT — After the 51-foot Smoker II began taking on water 79 miles offshore Wednesday, Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston assisted the seven mariners on board.
Crew members notified the Coast Guard at 10:29 a.m. Wednesday their boat was taking on water, according to a news release from the Coast Guard 8th District. Dewatering pumps were keeping up with the water, but the boat was disabled. An urgent marine broadcast was issued, and a helicopter team and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Beluga were diverted to assist. A surveillance aircraft crew also was dispatched, the release states.
An additional dewatering pump was passed to the crew of the Smoker II by someone responding to the broadcast, and another dewatering pump was provided by the crew of the Beluga once they reached the scene, the release states. The Beluga placed the Smoker II in tow and transferred the tow to a Station Freeport 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew at 6:48 p.m. The Smoker II was moored in the Surfside Marina at 12:36 a.m. Thursday, the release states.
The Smoker II’s mariners were prepared for the unexpected, said Lt. Commander Caren Damon, Sector Houston-Galveston’s search and rescue mission coordinator.
“After realizing they were taking on water, the mariners donned lifejackets and quickly communicated with the Coast Guard the nature of their distress and their location,” Damon said. “Our ability to render assistance is greatly increased when mariners make safety a priority.”