Coast Guard rescues three off Gasparilla Island

August 4, 2017
By Marcy Shortuse

The United States Coast Guard has been busy with weather-related activity lately, including a recent rescue just off the Gasparilla Island coast.
The Coast Guard and Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office assisted three men Wednesday, Aug. 2 after their boat started sinking four miles west of Gasparilla Pass. Assisted were Sherman Williams, 66; Frank Williams, 33; and Justin Mahaffy, 31.
Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders received a report at 6:28 p.m. Tuesday from the Charlotte County Dispatch stating three people aboard the Salty Lady, a 52-foot fishing boat, were taking on water and they were in need of emergency assistance 4 miles west of Gasparilla Pass.
A 29-foot Response Boat-Medium (RBM) boat crew from Coast Guard Station Cortez and the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Seahawk, an 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat stationed at Sector St. Petersburg, launched to assist.
A Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office marine unit crew arrived at 7:38 p.m and assisted with dewatering the boat. The boat crew aboard the Seahawk arrived at 8:22 p.m. and the RBM arrived at 10:12 p.m. to join the dewatering efforts. At 1:19 a.m. Wednesday, the boat crews determined they were not able to keep up with the flooding to safely tow the Salty Lady crew.
All three boaters were transferred to the RBM. The boaters were transported to Venice Inlet at 1:52 a.m. Wednesday where family members were waiting.
No injuries were reported. The owner is making arrangements to have the Salty Lady towed to Boca Grande.