St Johns County Fire Rescue and the City of St. Augustine Fire Department responded to a reported vessel in distress in the area of the St Augustine Inlet at approximately 3:30 p.m. today, according to an announcement received by Historic City News.
Upon arrival, crews found two occupants aboard a 25ft sailboat, disabled and aground, on the north shoal of the St Augustine Inlet. The vessel was listing heavily, taking on water and being battered by significant surf.
Fire Rescue launched one watercraft with two rescue swimmers accompanied by Marine 49 from the St Augustine Fire Department. Upon making contact with the captain of the vessel, it was determined that the occupants did not have lifejackets on board. Several lifejackets were immediately shuttled to the vessel for both occupants.
Once the lifejackets were secured, the Fire Rescue watercraft assisted Tow Boat US with running a line to the vessel. Unfortunately after several attempts the Tow Vessel was unable to free the sailboat from the sandbar.
At this point the vessel captain signaled that they wanted off the vessel. Fire Rescue assisted the first occupant off of the vessel and onto the watercraft rescue sled. This individual was transferred to Marine 49 without any injuries.
The second occupant had sustained minor injuries and was unable to exit the vessel on his own, so one rescue swimmer boarded the vessel and assisted him into the water and onto the watercraft rescue sled without incident.
Both occupants were transported by Marine 49 to the Vilano Beach boat ramp where they were evaluated by emergency medical personnel aboard Rescue 12. Both victims were transported to Flagler Hospital for evaluation of minor injuries and minor cold exposure.
The vessel remained aground, and was left in the care of Tow Boat US.