Coast Guard and Fire Department Rescue Snorkelers Near Molokini Crater – One Unresponsive

The Coast Guard and the Maui County Fire Department rescued four snorkelers near Molokini Crater off Maui, Sunday.

Molokini Crater

Molokini Crater

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received notification from the operator of the vessel, Double Scoop, that one of their snorkelers was unresponsive and three others were stranded in the rocks in the surf zone near Molokini Crater.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Maui and a jet ski from Maui County Fire Department were launched to the scene.

The rescue crews arrived on scene, safely recovered the unresponsive and three stranded snorkelers and transferred them onto the RB-M.

Rescue personnel administered CPR to the unresponsive snorkeler.

The snorkelers were transported to the Maalaea Boat Ramp where local emergency medical personnel were waiting to take them to the hospital.

Kayakers Rescued by Honolulu Fire Department and Coast Guard

The Coast Guard and Honolulu Fire Department rescued a group of kayakers offshore of Honolulu, Saturday.

Honolulu Fire Department received a call from one of a group of six kayakers at approximately 8 a.m. stating that some of their kayaks had overturned and  four people were in the water. HFD deployed a rescue helicopter, rescue boat, fire boat and engine and contacted the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center.

Sector Honolulu responded by issuing an urgent marine information broadcast to request the assistance of mariners in the area and launching a 45-foot Response-Boat Medium from Coast Guard Station Honolulu.

Upon arriving on scene the Coast Guard response boat crew rescued four people from the water and took one person aboard from a kayak. They were then able to recover three kayaks, and escort the sixth member of the group as he paddled to Kaimana Beach. The five people aboard the response boat  and their kayaks were taken to Ala Wai Boat Harbor with no reported injuries. Everyone was wearing a lifejacket.

Maritime accidents can occur quickly and without warning, even under the best weather conditions. Lifejackets, hand held marine VHF radios and signaling devices can greatly increase the chance of survival should the unexpected occur. Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands as well as residents should ensure they have appropriate safety equipment, weather information and experience before heading out on the water.

For more information on lifejackets visit www.uscgboating.org.

Sea conditions at the time were one to two foot swells, calm winds and clear skies. For more information contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

Sailor Goes Missing Near Kaena Point During Open Ocean Swim Training

The Coast Guard, Navy, Ocean Safety and Honolulu Fire Department are searching for a Navy sailor near Kaena Point, Oahu, Wednesday.

The Pathfinder for Maritime Search & Rescue

The Pathfinder for Maritime Search & Rescue. (Self-Locating Datum Marker Buoy)

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu was notified that a Hawaii-based sailor was reported missing after he became separated from other members of his command during an open ocean swim training evolution off Kaena Point Tuesday afternoon.

An MH-65 dolphin helicopter crew out of Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and a response boat-medium crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu were diverted from a training exercise at 6:30 p.m. to begin searching the area. A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew began assisting with the search at 1 a.m. Wednesday. The Honolulu Fire Department Air One helicopter and a fire department land company searched the sea and shoreline until nightfall. Coast Guard rescue crews continued to search the sea and shoreline throughout the night.

Search crews Wednesday include the contracted Navy tug Sea Commando, the Coast Guard Cutters Walnut and Kittiwake, a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Coast Guard Station Honolulu, and Coast Guard aircraft. Ocean Safety crews aboard a jet ski and several assets from the Honolulu Fire Department, including the Air One helicopter, a 24-foot rescue boat and a shoreline crew are searching.

Sector Honolulu watchstanders are utilizing the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System, a computer program which calculates environmental factors such as weather; wind, current speed and direction to determine a search area with the highest probability for locating a missing person in the water. In addition to SAROPS, Coast Guard crews have deployed three Self-Locating Datum Marker buoys to better assist rescue crews in coordinating their search patterns. The SAROPS program is presently in agreement with the physical datum marker buoys on the optimal search area.

For more information regarding the search, contact the Coast Guard’s 14th District public affairs office at 808-535-3230.

For information regarding the missing Navy sailor, contact Agnes Tauyan, Navy Region Hawaii director of public affairs at 808-473-2875 or 808-554-4813.

Coast Guard Crews to Enforce Kailua Bay Security Zone During President Obama Stay

Coast Guard law enforcement officers will enforce a temporary security zone in Kailua Bay beginning as early as Dec. 21, 2012. The temporary security zone is necessary to ensure the safety of the President of the United States and his official party.

Kailua Zone

The security zone will be in effect from 6 a.m. December 21, 2012 to 10 p.m. January 6, 2013, unless canceled earlier by the Captain of the Port Honolulu, Capt. Joanna Nunan.

The Coast Guard is coordinating with the Honolulu Police Department, Marine Corps Base Hawaii and other Federal, state, and county law enforcement agencies on patrols of the area under the direction of the U.S. Secret Service.

The maritime security zone includes a portion of Kailua Bay, beginning at Kapoho Point and extending westward to the shoreline near Kailuana Loop. The zone also includes the adjacent canal beginning near Kapoho Point to a point extending the canal way to approximately 150 yards south of the North Kalaheo Avenue road bridge.

A marker will be placed on Kailua Beach, a yellow buoy will be placed on the water and an orange boom will placed in the canal for visual references of the zone.

Under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (33 CFR 165.33), the temporary law prohibits any unauthorized person or vessel from entering or remaining in this security zone. Any person entering the zone without the permission of the Coast Guard Captain of the Port is subject to a penalty of not more than $40,000 for each violation or a criminal penalty resulting in imprisonment of not more than 10 years.

For more information about the security zone, contact the Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.

Coast Guard, NOAA, DLNR Prepare for Return of Humpback Whales to Hawaiian Waters

Crews from the Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the State of Hawaii’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, from the Department of Land and Natural Resources are partnering together to protect humpback whales as they make their annual migration to Hawaiian waters.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Hyde watches as a whale swims underneath a Coast Guard Station Honolulu 47-foot Motor Life Boat in waters west of Molokai, Hawaii, U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Angela

Humpback whale season is generally from November to May with the peak season occurring during the months of January and March. According to the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine National Sanctuary, whales come to the Hawaiian Islands to mate, calve, and nurse their young. They return to Alaska in the summer months because Hawaii’s waters are relatively nutrient-free and too warm to support enough of the humpback’s food to sustain them year-round. The whales must migrate back to colder water to feed and rebuild their blubber supply.

“It is certainly beneficial to have the Coast Guard, NOAA and DOCARE working together with the same goal of protecting these marine mammals,” said Eric Roberts, the 14th Coast Guard District’s marine mammal response manager. “By combining our resources, we are better prepared to protect this endangered species in a way that helps keep both the animals and Hawaii’s mariners safe.”

The 14th Coast Guard District is home to four marine national monuments and two national marine sanctuaries, more than any other region in the United States. Since the 2009-2010 humpback whale season, the Coast Guard has been conducting Operation Kohola Guardian, a program created to formalize the Coast Guard’s protection of the endangered humpback whale.

Operation Kohola Guardian involves coordinated joint Coast Guard, NOAA and DOCARE patrols of the sanctuary during the peak months of January through March. The Coast Guard aims to protect both the safety of mariners as well as the endangered humpback whales while in the sanctuary by direct communication with boaters.

“We are so fortunate to have the humpbacks visit Hawaii each year,” said Elia Herman, sanctuary co-manager with the DLNR.  “But with that comes added responsibility – and we all need to continue to work together to ensure the laws are followed and both whales and people are protected.”

There are several whale collisions near the Hawaiian Islands every year. Boaters can take proactive measures to ensure their safety as well as the safety of the whales. Keeping a boat’s speed down when whales are known to be in the area is one step mariners can take. Mariners should also maintain a sharp lookout at all times.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Lundy and Seaman Darren Park, both from Coast Guard Station Honolulu, watch as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration members remove line caught on a yearling whale in waters west of Molokai, Hawaii.

Weighing an average of 45 tons, a humpback whale collision with a mariner can be catastrophic. While on routine patrol, Coast Guard boats and air crews scan the area for signs of whales. If whales are sighted crews alert nearby mariners to ensure they remain away. It is illegal to approach within 100 yards of a whale. Aircraft are also prohibited from flying within 1,000 feet of a whale.

“Protecting humpback whales in Hawaii requires the work of multiple agencies. The Coast Guard, NOAA and the state of Hawaii’s DOCARE all play important roles, that when combined, result in better protection for whales in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary,” said Sanctuary Superintendent Malia Chow, from NOAA. “It is truly a multi-agency effort.”

Coast Guard crews conduct sanctuary patrols to ensure boaters and marine life stay safe.

“One of our core missions is the protection of marine mammals, so it’s crucial that we work closely with our federal, state and local partners to ensure that the maritime community is respecting our maritime laws,” said Roberts. “By partnering with NOAA and DOCARE, we’ve been able to increase our presence throughout the Sanctuary.”

The Coast Guard’s efforts to protect humpback whales are not limited to surface patrols. Coast Guardsmen act as first responders to entanglements and other marine mammal distress calls, and they are often the reporting source to NOAA and DOCARE. While on routine patrols, Coast Guard rescue helicopter crews from Air Station Barbers Point sometimes spot distressed marine mammals.

“Coast Guardsmen attend regular training focusing on large whale entanglement response and we are permitted to act on behalf of NOAA in certain circumstances,” Roberts said. “This provides our members with the technical knowledge to assess the extent of the entanglements and attached satellite tracking gear as needed. Additionally, our boat operators receive extensive training on safe approach techniques to limit the risks to both the animals and our response personnel.”

The Coast Guard assists with an average of 12 to 15 whale entanglements each season and transports numerous marine mammals that are in danger to safer locations.

Mariners and citizens are asked to report injured or entangled marine mammals to the Coast Guard on VHF marine band channel 16, or at 808-842-2600, or by contacting the NOAA fisheries hotline at 800-853-1964.

Individuals are invited to continue the conversation at www.Facebook.com/USCGHawaiiPacific.

For more information visit the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Web site at http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/.