The U.S. Coast Guard says it rescued four people who were thrown from their boat into a Charleston river early Friday morning. Three of those rescued were clinging to a channel marker when a Coast Guard crew arrived.
The boaters reported they were travelling through the Wando River on a 21-foot bass boat when the vessel struck an unknown object near the Remley’s Point channel marker and all four people were ejected. None of them were wearing life jackets, the Coast Guard said. The bass boat stopped after coming ashore on Drum Island near the Ravenell bridge, several feet past the waterline.
Three of the passengers swam to the channel marker and held on to wait for assistance. The fourth swam to Drum Island and used the boat’s VHF-FM marine radio to call for help around 12:30 a.m.
The Coast Guard identified those rescued as: 25-year-old McGuire Keenan of Columbia, 25-year-old Andrew Yarborough of Walterboro, 19-year-old Elise Mayberry of Walterboro, and 27-year-old Wayne Taylor of Mount Pleasant.
Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector Charleston said they responded to the distress call and immediately directed a Station Charleston boat crew to launch a small response boat. The Coast Guardsmen arrived on scene roughly 30 minutes later, rescued all four people aboard the RB-S and took them to Remley’s Point public boat landing in Mount Pleasant, where emergency medical technicians were waiting.
Three of the boaters declined medical treatment. EMTs treated the fourth person, who had several cuts on his foot, on location and released him.
“This accident showcases exactly why we encourage boaters to wear their life jackets at all times and to equip their vessels with a VHF-FM marine radio,” Lt. Timothy McNamara, the Sector Charleston command duty officer, said in a statement. “Most accidents happen without warning, leaving little to no time to put on a life jacket before going in the water. And most cell phones are un-useable after they get wet, so a marine radio should always be available as a primary means of distress communication.”