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Harbor Patrol Responds to Vessel Reported Sinking at County Line

During the evening hours of September 24, 2014 Officers Erik Engebretson and Larry Nufer heard a MAYDAY call from the 45’ M/V Mesmerize that departed Santa Barbara Harbor about an hour earlier.  The vessel’s operator reported they were sinking with six passengers aboard in a location approximately half way between Santa Barbara and Ventura Harbor.

Officers evaluated the situation, determined six lives were in imminent danger and responded aboard Patrol Boat #2 (the fastest boat in the fleet). While in route, the M/V Mesmerize reported that bilge pumps were not working, they were having difficulty getting their life-raft in the water and were taking water over the transom.  Both Officers thought the vessel would sink before their arrival and hoped the six passengers would be found safe before sunset.

After a 20+ minute run, Officers arrived to find the M/V Mesmerize still afloat with several through-hulls discharging water from the bilges.  The passengers were laying about the deck sea-sick and in obvious distress.  Officer Engebretson transferred Officer Nufer from PB#2 to the M/V Mesmerize.  Officer Nufer assured the passengers they would all be OK and began inspecting the engine compartment and bilges.  He found an engine intake hose had failed and the intake pump was pumping sea water into the bilges.  Officer Nufer secured the engine through-hull, stopping the leak.  The bilge pumps removed the remaining water.  A US Coast Guard SAFE boat and a Ventura Harbor Patrol boat then arrived on scene.  USCG placed a crew member aboard the M/V Mesmerize to assist its operator back to Ventura Harbor while the vessel ran on its remaining operable engine.

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2018
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