Coasties save the day, again! Or, Beware the Humboldt Fog...
EUREKA, Calif. – The Coast Guard assisted two men aboard the pleasure craft Fishin Mortician, a 16-ft skiff, from the surf and dense fog near the south jetty of the Humboldt Bay entrance channel.
At 7:55 a.m., Saturday, July 31, the captain of the Fishin Mortician found himself in the surf on the south side of the south jetty, and called for help. A fellow fisherman heard his call for help on marine VHF Channel 68 and relayed that call to Coast Guard Group Humboldt Bay on Channel 16, the international hailing and distress channel.
A 47-ft Motor Life Boat from Station Humboldt Bay responded to the call. The two men aboard the pleasure craft was able to escape the surf on their own, but quickly found themselves lost and disoriented in the thick morning fog. Using direction finding radio equipment, the crew of the MLB located the lost pleasure craft. Due to the hazardous bar conditions, the MLB took the two crewmembers from the boat aboard the MLB and towed the vessel into the harbor.
The captain of the Fishin Mortician reported that he had been washed into shore so much by the surf that his engine had struck bottom and he feared for his life.
The hazardous surf and thick fog combine to make the Humboldt Bay area a challenging environment for mariners of all experience levels. Mariners should ensure they maintain and use adequate navigation equipment for low visibility conditions.