Coast Guard officials are coordinating the rescue of two Canadian sailors 1,250 miles southeast of Nantucket. The 506-foot commercial vessel Renate Schulte, a member of the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER), was called upon by the Coast Guard to assist in the rescue due to the distance from shore.
At approximately 8:30 a.m., Watchstanders at the 1st District Command Center received a distress signal from the 40-foot sailboat Wacawa's personal locator beacon. The two Canadians aboard had intended to sail from Spain to Canada, but had been diverted from their course because of foul weather. Health issues with one of the crewmembers forced them to activate the ship's locator beacon.
AMVER is a computer-based reporting system that relies on volunteer ships worldwide to aide search and rescue authorities in the assistance of distressed vessels. The origins of AMVER came from the fact that ships passing within sight of the sinking HMS Titanic were unaware that it had struck an iceberg and mistook emergency signal flares as part of the maiden voyage celebrations. Today, 22,000 ships are participants in AMVER. Since 2000, over 2,800 lives have been saved as a result of assistance from AMVER vessels.
“The Coast Guard relies heavily on our AMVER vessels to respond during these long ranged cases,” commented Petty Officer 1st Class Joquin Alayola of 1st District Command Center. “This extends our search and rescue capabilities outside the normal operating area.”