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Water Rescues

US Coast Guard rescues boater off Florida coast after he went missing for nearly 2 days

C. A. Bridges

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A missing boater was rescued Saturday after an all-out search by multiple agencies finally located him 12 miles off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Charles Gregory, 25, was last seen Thursday night leaving the Lighthouse Boat Ramp in St. Augustine on a 12-foot jon boat — a small, lightweight, and flat-bottomed fishing boat, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Southeast. The Coast Guard started the search for him late Friday after his family reported him missing.

Gregory was spotted Saturday morning, sitting in his partially submerged boat, by an HC-130 Hercules airplane aircrew, the Coast Guard said in a news release.

A boat crew recovered Gregory from the water and transferred him to emergency medical services at the Vilano Beach Pier. He did not report any medical concerns, the Coast Guard said.

Gregory was in good spirits, News4Jax reported, despite being "tired and dehydrated."

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"We are pleased about the outcome in this case and I would like to thank all of our local and state partners who were heavily involved in searching for Charles and bringing him home to his family," Cmdr. Nick Barrow, Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville search and rescue mission coordinator, said in the release. 

Agencies involved in the search included the U.S. Coast Guard Station Mayport, the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Coho, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, the St. Johns County Fire Rescue, the St. Augustine Police Department, the St. Augustine Fire Department, and Florida Fish and Wildlife.

"While this case resulted in rescuing Charles from a life-threatening situation, it highlights the importance of having safety gear onboard and being prepared for the worst," Barrow said. "If you plan to head out on the water, remember to have a life jacket, VHF marine grade radio, signaling devices, and an emergency personal locator beacon to contact first responders in case you are in need of assistance."

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