Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Coast Guard rescues scuba divers


Twenty-six recreational scuba divers were rescued Sunday by the U.S. Coast Guard after the boat they were riding on, a Santa Barbara based vessel named Vision, began taking on water near San Nicolas Island.
The boat sprung a leak after its port rudder, which is used to steer the boat, broke, said Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Scott Young.

He said the boat’s captain realized something was wrong shortly after 11 a.m. when the steering began to malfunction. When crewmembers looked into the steering compartment, they discovered the flooding and quickly devised a plan to patch the hole.
Young said the boat’s crew, many of whom are experienced scuba divers, dove beneath the boat and patched the hole with a piece of plywood and some underwater adhesive.
“I would emphasize that the crew did a great job to undertake a hull flooding repair like that underway and to do it as effectively as they did it is really commendable,” Young said.
Even if the crew hadn’t patched the hole, Young said the boat wouldn’t have sunk. Because the boat is registered as a commercial passenger vessel, he said it’s designed so that if one section of the boat completely floods, the other sections will remain dry and the boat will stay afloat.
The boat was about eight miles away from San Nicolas Island, which is located 75 miles off the coast and is primarily used by the U.S. Navy for weapons testing and training.
The boat’s passengers returned to Santa Barbara on the Coast Guard cutter Blackfin, which is also based out of Santa Barbara. No injuries were reported.

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