An M-60 Jayhawk like this one, from USCG Air Station Elizabeth City, helped search for the overdue boaters.

Close Call: Missing Boaters Rescued Thanks to Float Plan

A search for two missing boaters and their dog has a happy ending thanks to several search and rescue agencies … and the fact that the boaters communicated their expected return time to relatives.

The boat owner, his dog, and a companion had been on the water in Newport News, were overdue, and were not returning calls, a family member reported to the U.S. Coast Guard Friday morning.

The Coast Guard launched search crews by boat and helicopter, and Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Newport News Fire Department, James City Fire Department, Suffolk Fire Department, Fort Eustis Fire Department, Prince George and Surry county all helped in the search as well.

The Coast Guard found the boat, along with its owner and the dog, beached near Morrison Creek. The second boater had swum across the Warwick River and walked to safety, then called 911.

USCG points out that letting someone know you’re headed out on the water and when you plan to be back is a crucial step—especially if something unexpected happens.

“When boaters are overdue and missing, minutes and seconds can be the determining factor in life or death for those involved,” said LT Micheal Brooks, Sector Virginia Command Duty Officer. “Float plans, EPIRBS, lifejackets and working communication devices are all gear that can get the Coast Guard to you quickly and accurately in emergencies.”

Meg Walburn VIviano