Search and rescue missions keep Charleston Coast Guard base busy, training daily

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Recent search and rescue missions have kept the Charleston Coast Guard base busy.

That is the reason they train every day.

"Why we do this is so we can find people and make sure they're okay," Coast Guardsman Tucker Gleason says.

It's not so simple, even for these seasoned mariners. When a distress call comes in, it is received at the Coast Guard base on a radio system that links Charleston's base with others from Florida to North Carolina.

"If someone calls in on the radio it all starts with that," Gleason says.

At that point other Coast Guardsmen spring into action and start up the rescue boat.

"So the plan is to go out and we're gonna go do the search patterns," Gleason says.

First they need to find out the location of the search area. The goal is to be able to narrow the search area as much as possible. Chief Tim Abrams says looking for a bobbing head is like looking for a football, so if necessary, they use infrared radar.

"The more data that we have, if there's debris somewhere, if there's an overturned boat, something," Abrams says.

The Coast Guard has success stories, like the recent rescue of two men and two boys 13 miles out to sea.

"That's the greatest feeling in the world, there's nothing like it," Gleason says.

However a 77-year-old and 61-year-old man are still missing after their overturned boat was found near Awendaw.

The Coast Guard urges all boaters to have the proper equipment on board such as this waterproof float light an emergency radio positioning beacon. Abrams says they could be lifesavers.

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