The Coast Guard rescued three divers in waters off of Maui after they lost contact with their vessel.
Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders received a report from Station Maui from an operator of a 23-foot vessel who lost contact with three divers in deep waters about 20 miles north of Hookipa at about 2 p.m. Monday.
The Coast Guard deployed its MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, HC-130 Hercules plane, 45-foot response boat medium and cutter Ahi to the site. Crew members aboard the Hercules spotted the missing divers who were waving their flippers in the air and dropped a flare so the boat crew could find them.
The Coast Guard rescued the drivers and transported them back to their vessel. No injuries were reported. Weather conditions at the time were waves at 7 feet and winds at 9 miles per hour.
“These were seasoned divers who became lost after diving for an extended amount of time,” said Lt. Megan Bowis, command center chief at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, in a news release. “It can happen to anyone. By staying together and calling attention to themselves with their fins and splashing we found them.”
Chief Petty Officer Ekahi Lee, officer-in-charge of the Coast Guard Station Maui, said, “We see an increase in bluewater diving. It’s becoming more of a sport than recreation here in Hawaii.”
The Coast Guard recommended the following safety tips for divers:
>> Bring lights and flotation devices.
>> Take a personal locator beacon.
>> Stay together and have a plan. Always let others know where you’re going and when you’re returning.
>> Be visible by using red glow sticks or chemlights.