Friday, June 12, 2015

Maine Maritime Academy training ship saves sailor

The Amver participating Maine Maritime Academy training ship State of Maine rescued a lone sailor after his sailboat began taking on water 520 miles southeast of Halifax, Canada on Wednesday, June 10, 2015.

U.S. Coast Guard rescue authorities in Boston, Mass. received an alert from a satellite provider stating "Broaching, taking on water in heavy seas. Hove to!". The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine broadcast to all available ships and queried the Amver system to see what commercial ships might be near the stricken yachtsman. Rescue authorities also launched a search and rescue aircraft from Canada and Coast Guard Air station Elizabeth City.

The  Training Ship State of Maine, a 500-foot training vessel from the Maine Maritime Academy, was only 29 miles away from the distress location and agreed to divert and assist the sailor.

The sailor, aboard the sailing vessel Prodigal, was on a voyage from South Carolina to Ireland when he encountered rough weather which damaged his sailboat.

According to a press release from the Maine Maritime Academy the sailboat was damaged but able to come alongside the training ship. Cadets aboard the ship readied rescue equipment, fast rescue boats and rigged a jacob's ladder to allow the sailor to board the ship. Within a few hours of the initial notification the survivor was safely aboard the training ship, had called his family and was enjoying a hot meal.

The State of Maine enrolled in Amver on June 24, 1998. The Maine Maritime Academy's Commandant of Midshipmen, Nate Gandy, said is best in the school's press release, "Students today got a first-hand look at a near disaster." Thankfully all the pieces of a successful rescue were in place. A robust search and rescue system that includes Amver, a well prepared sailor and seafarers willing to risk life and profit so that no call for help goes unanswered.

Photo credit: Maine Maritime Academy

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