Coast Guard Finds Stranded Sailor on Barge

Monday, November 20, 2006
Russell Bolton, 51, of Green Cove Springs, Fla., tells boarding officers about his ordeal. The Coast Guard received a call from the tug Ybor City from Jacksonville, Fla., reporting they had a stowaway aboard the 115-foot barge they were towing. A Coast Guard boarding team along with a Customs and Border Protection officer thought they were going to detain a possible stow away. Actually, Bolton's sailing vessel collided with the barge before sunrise that morning. Bolton had to jump aboard the barge to keep from falling in the water. Coast Guard and CBP officers verified the man's story and took him back to shore. Coast Guard photo by PA1 Donnie Brzuska.

The Coast Guard has removed a man found on a barge this morning whose sailing vessel collided with a tug and barge. Russell Joseph Bolton, 51, of Green Cove Springs, Fla., was sailing off the coast of St. Augustine, Fla., when his 33-foot sailing vessel collided with a 115-foot barge being towed by the 70-foot Ybor City. Bolton was able to jump on to the barge before being thrown in the water.

The crew of the American-flagged Ybor City was unaware that the sailing vessel collided with their barge and spotted Bolton this morning at about 10 a.m. The crew of Ybor City thought that Bolton may have been a stowaway and called Coast Guard rescue coordinators at Sector Jacksonville. The rescue coordinators sent a boarding team to from Coast Guard Station Mayport, Fla., along with a Customs and Border Protection officer to board the barge. The Coast Guard boarding team handcuffed Bolton until they could determine he was not a threat to their safety.

After the joint Coast Guard and CBP boarding team verified his identity and nationality, Bolton was taken back to Sector Jacksonville on a rescue boat from Station Mayport. Bolton was not injured in the collision, and there was no one else aboard the sail boat with Bolton during the collision. Bolton lived aboard his sailing vessel and will be taken to an American Red Cross Shelter by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

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