Coast Guard aircrews rescue U.S. citizen from sailing vessel taking on water 170 nautical miles northwest of Puerto Rico

Dec 11, 2023

Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard aircrews rescued a sole sailor, Friday, from a sailing vessel that was taking on water, approximately 170 nautical miles northwest, of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Rescued is Neil Treitman, a 69-year-old man and U.S. Citizen, who was transiting aboard the 46-foot sailing catamaran Sailicity from Nassau, Bahamas to Tortola, British Virgin Islands, when the vessel started taking on water. 

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a call at approximately 9:58 p.m. Friday, in which the reporting source called from the British Virgin Islands and informed to have received a satellite communication from Trietman reporting the distress. Watchstanders later received an Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon 406 MHz distress signal from the Sailicity.

A Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Borinquen, an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Air Station Miami, and the Coast Guard Cutter Pablo Valent responded to find the Sailicity and render rescue assistance.  Watchstanders also conducted an Emergency Group Calling and transmitted an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to alert commercial vessel traffic of the ongoing distress.  Once on scene, the Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crew deployed their rescue swimmer who was able to get onboard the sailing vessel and hoist Treitman safely aboard the aircraft. 

Treitman later informed that during the voyage he noticed that water was slowly coming inside the vessel and that he was able to activate the vessel bilge pumps and use buckets to mitigate the flooding.  Despite Treitman’s efforts, the mitigating measures were ineffective as water started to enter the vessel at an accelerated pace.

“We’re very thankful Mr. Treitman had the necessary equipment on board his vessel so we could safely and efficiently locate him far offshore,” said Lt. Cmdr. Vince Knaeble, Air Station Borinquen MH-60T Jayhawk aircraft commander for the case. “The deployed HC-144 from Miami was critical for this case as our cover asset, and we’re thankful for the awesome SAR support they provided.”

Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon

Following the rescue, the Coast Guard aircrew transported Treitman to Air Station Borinquen.  No injuries or medical emergencies were reported in this case.

Boating Safety Tips:

Boaters are reminded to equip their vessels with safety equipment, be mindful of state boating laws, and be courteous to fellow boaters while operating on the water.

There should be a personal flotation device on the vessel for each person, sized accordingly.

Boaters should have flares and are encouraged to have an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) with 406 MHz capabilities to enable a faster response by the Coast Guard in the event of an emergency.

Boaters should have an operational marine VHF radio on their boat to contact the Coast Guard on channel 16, in the event an emergency. The Coast Guard reminds radio operators that VHF channel 16 is an emergency channel and that improper transmission on channel 16 not only hampers Coast Guard response but is punishable under federal law.

The Coast Guard strongly recommends that all boaters file a float plan with a friend or family member on land, with an approximate time of return and location to which you will be heading.  It is also recommended that you regularly check in with those who are aware of your plan, especially if your plan should change.

Mariners should check current and forecasted weather conditions prior to getting underway and remain aware of changing conditions once on the water.  The National Weather Service broadcasts weather conditions throughout the day on VHF channel WX2.  The Coast Guard broadcasts weather conditions on VHF channel 22A. Current weather information and advisories can be found on the National Weather Service website.

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