Round-the-World Sailing Couple Rescued off Atlantic City

A couple’s round-the-world sailing trip comes to an unfortunate end when their boat capsizes at the very end of the last leg of the trip.

Coast Guard Mid-Atlantic crews rescued the man and woman about 65 miles east of Atlantic City Wednesday, clinging to the hull of their 55-foot wooden boat, Bertie.

The two had been sailing Bertie around the world for the past few years, and were on the last leg of their trip, from the Bahamas to New York City, when the boat capsized.

USCG’s Fifth District Command Center in Portsmouth got an alert from the boat’s emergency beacon, known as an EPIRB. The Coast Guard crew called the emergency contact registered with the EPIRB, and that’s how they learned of the sailors’ float plan.

They were out of range for VHF and cell phone reception, so the EPIRB (and its up-to-date emergency contact) likely saved the sailors’ lives.

A Coast Guard cutter, helicopter, and airplane crew all responded to the EPIRB’s location and followed a blinking strobe light to find the capsized sailboat hull. The helicopter crew hoisted the sailors aboard and took them to an EMS crew waiting in Atlantic City.

“This was an extremely challenging hoist due to on-scene conditions, but the entire crew came together to work as a team to get the job done,” said Lt. Anthony Monteforte, one of the helicopter pilots on the case. “I am extremely proud of my crew and all of the other assets that aided in this rescue and thankful that the survivors onboard used a currently registered EPIRB so that we could quickly locate them.”

-Meg Walburn Viviano