The U.S. Coast Guard says good Samaritans off Southcentral and Southeast Alaska rescued nearly a dozen boaters aboard four vessels in distress Tuesday, including one which sank and another that beached.
According to a Coast Guard statement on the rescues, all four cases were reported to watchstanders but first responded to by vessels in the area.

USCG spokesperson Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker didn’t have a full list of the crews which responded, saying they included a mix of fishermen and recreational boaters; nobody was injured in any of the four calls.

The vessel which sank, the Alaska Rose, was reported by its three-person crew to be on fire on the southwest side of Resurrection Bay.

“Good Samaritans quickly responded and transferred all personnel before the vessel became completely engulfed and sank,” officials wrote. “On-scene vessels reported a small sheen and very little debris.”

While the crew was taken to Seward, Parker says the cause of the fire aboard the Alaska Rose wasn’t immediately available Wednesday. He says concerns about pollution from its sinking are limited.

“From the reports we have of the amount of fuel on board, we’re just monitoring at this point,” Parker said.

In another call, the three people aboard a 19-foot vessel near Blackstone Bay reported that they were taking on water, calling watchstanders for assistance.

“The operator was able to beach the vessel to prevent it from sinking,” officials wrote. “A good Samaritan overheard the initial call, responded and assisted in securing the vessel before transporting all three boaters to Whittier.”

Three people in another vessel which began to take on water, the Poker Dogs, reported that they were in trouble near Port Wells.

“A good Samaritan nearby responded to the captain’s request for assistance and safely escorted the vessel back to Whittier,” officials wrote.

In the Southeast Alaska case, the 26-foot fishing vessel Oracle had two people on board when it was disabled by an overheated engine. The crew called Juneau watchstanders, who kept in contact with them until help arrived.

“Good Samaritans aboard the fishing vessel Crista C responded and towed the Oracle safely to Haines,” officials wrote.

According to Lt. j.g. Victoria Swinghamer, an Anchorage watchstander, Tuesday’s rescues are a demonstration of how Alaska’s boating community keeps an eye out for those in distress.

“We encourage boaters to safely help one another in emergencies, but it's even more important for boaters to help themselves by boating safe and planning ahead,” Swinghamer said in the statement.

Parker says that while the four rescues all have disparate circumstances, they all offer a common lesson for boaters.

“Always be prepared -- accidents can happen at a moment’s notice,” Parker said.