A Juneau fisherman and his two dogs are safe after a Tuesday morning Coast Guard rescue in Freshwater Bay, about 18 miles southeast of Hoonah.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard headquarters in Juneau got a mayday call from the 33-foot Bailey Bay shortly before 5 a.m. The fishing boat’s skipper, Robert Johnson, said he was alone on the boat with his two dogs, and he was taking on water.
That was the last call Johnson made from the Bailey Bay.
Coast Guard personnel from Station Juneau, Air Station Sitka, and the cutter Douglas Denman responded. Several vessels in the area also heard the call and helped the Coast Guard narrow down the search area.
Just before 8 a.m., a helicopter from Air Station Sitka found Johnson — wearing a survival suit and signaling with a handheld flare — on a beach with his dogs in Freshwater Bay.
In a news release, Lt. Trevor Layman, with the Sector Juneau Command Center, said that the help of other mariners along with Johnson’s own preparedness contributed to the rescue.
“All these factors allowed us to do our job in an efficient manner to bring the man and his dogs safely home,” he said.
The crew of the Douglas Denman found the Bailey Bay submerged and reported that it was producing a small sheen. It reportedly has less than 75 gallons of diesel fuel on board.
The vessel owner plans to conduct salvage operations. The cause of the incident is under investigation.