Coast Guard Rescues Overboard Mariners Off Oahu

HONOLULU — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball rescued four mariners off Portlock after they had fallen overboard from their vessel Sunday.

The cutter's small boat crew rescued the four mariners, one of whom sustained minor injuries from the vessel’s propeller, and brought them safely back to awaiting medical services. 

At 1:16 p.m., Sector Honolulu watchstanders received a report from a good Samaritan stating an unmanned 14-foot vessel was transiting in circles off Portlock and people were in the water near the vicinity.

The Kimball’s small boat crew was nearby conducting Memorial Day weekend safety operations and diverted to the scene, recovering the four mariners and gaining control of their wayward vessel. 

The mariners claimed they were ejected from their boat when a large wake impacted the vessel.

“On April 1, a new law requiring engine cut-off switches went into effect,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Chad Chao, an operations specialist for Sector Honolulu. “It’s always better to have more safety measures in place and this is a great way to maintain control of your vessel in the unpredictable ocean.”

The new law applies to any motorized boat with three or more horsepower and is less than 26-feet in length. It requires the operator of the boat with the installed ECOS to use the ECOS link, typically a bungee cord lanyard clipped to the operator's person. 

When the operator is underway, the engine will cut off if the operator is separated from the operating area, which can happen if the operator falls or is ejected from the vessel, causing the vessel to stop making way. 

The ECOS may also prevent the operator from making contact with the vessel’s spinning propeller, and may aid the operator in safely returning to the vessel.