ST. PETERSBURG — Six people were rescued Saturday by the Coast Guard from a boat that was taking on water near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a distress call on VHF channel 16 — the marine distress channel — from the boat operator warning that their vessel was “close to capsizing” in the waters of Tampa Bay, according to the Coast Guard.
Two 45-foot Response Boats were sent to help. One was dispatched from Sector St. Petersburg and the other from Coast Guard Station Cortez in Bradenton. Officials did not say what time the call went out or what kind of boat was in distress.
When the coast guardsmen arrived, they said they found two people in the water wearing life jackets and four people on the sinking boat. The Cortez crew picked up the two in the water, and the St. Petersburg crew rescued the four on the boat.
All six were taken back to the Bradenton station. A Sea Tow vessel recovered the boat and towed it to a marina. The Coast Guard did not say why the vessel was capsizing.
“Regardless of how a person ends up in the water, wearing a life jacket is the single most important precaution a person can take to increase their chances of survival when situations like this take place,” said Capt. Mathew Thompson, the commander of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, in a statement. “This is why we urge all boaters to have life jackets with them.”