A fisherman who spent the night off the coast of Kauai is safe after Coast Guard rescue crews located him five miles off of Kapa'a on Thursday.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received a call at 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, from a man reporting that his friend was overdue on his 14-foot Boston Whaler. The 61-year-old fisherman departed from the Waikaea Canal in Kapa'a earlier in the day to fish a few miles off of Kapa'a with group of other fishing boats.
Coast Guard Sector Honolulu launched a 47-Motor Life Boat crew from Station Kauai, the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake, a C-130 Hercules airplane crew and two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to search for the man.
An urgent marine information broadcast was also issued to all mariners in the area, asking for their assistance in locating the missing mariner.
The Kauai Fire Department and Kauai Police Department also joined the search. At 8:09 a.m., one of the Dolphin helicopter crews located the fisherman and directed the crew to the fisherman's position. He was safely escorted back to Kapa'a Harbor.
The search covered nearly 2,000 square miles.
"If the mariner had a VHF radio on board, he likely would have overheard the Coast Guard's Urgent Marine Information Broadcast being transmitted on Ch. 16 looking for him," said Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Peterson, an operational watchstander at the Sector Honolulu command center. "He then could have contacted the Coast Guard or other mariners for assistance."
The mariner reported hearing a helicopter but the light he was flashing was not seen by rescue crews due to the weather conditions. He was not equipped with a VHF marine radio, GPS, compass or signal flares.
The Coast Guard advises all mariners to ensure they are property equipped before heading out. This includes having life jackets, a VHF marine radio, flares and a compass or GPS.