Credit: Ashley L. Conti

A mariner who called for help early Saturday morning assisted with his own rescue by being well prepared for trouble at sea, the Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard Sector Northern New England received notification at 5:42 a.m. that a 34-foot pleasure craft with one person on board was rapidly taking on water near Crow Island in Casco Bay. The waters were dangerously cold, the Coast Guard said.

The mariner, who the Coast Guard did not identify, donned a life jacket and contacted the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16. The boater also activated the vessel’s Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, which gave the Coast Guard the distressed vessel’s exact position.

“This was a great response by not only a responsive and well-trained Coast Guard boat crew, but a prepared mariner,” said Cmdr. James McLay, the search and rescue mission coordinator.

“The proactive safety measures he took both before and during today’s incident ensured a safe and expeditious rescue, kept him out of the water and allowed us to apply critical damage control efforts, which prevented his vessel from sinking,” McLay said.

For its part, the Coast Guard Command Center in South Portland launched Station Southwest Harbor’s 47-foot motor lifeboat and a helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod. The center also notified Maine Marine Patrol.

Once on scene, the Coast Guard’s motor lifeboat crew dewatered the vessel so it could be towed safely to Stonington.

The Coast Guard said maintaining and engaging an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon when in distress helps it keep track of a vessel’s location. Wearing a proper fitting life jacket before an emergency increases the odds of survival and conserves energy if a boater is in the water.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary provides free boating safety checks to help boaters prepare the right safety equipment for their vessel.

It also has a safe boating app that can be personalized to a specific vessel. It can be downloaded for cell phones via the app store or at