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Eckerd College's Search and Recovery Team
By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2000
Over the years, thousands of boaters in distress have been saved from embarrassment and worse by this dedicated group of volunteers for Eckerd College.
Assisting disabled vessels is the norm, but Eckerd College's Search and Recovery Team (EC-SAR) often is called to respond to emergencies. An EC-SAR crew was one of the first rescue units on the scene of the Skyway Bridge disaster in May 1980.
A commercial towing service can cost up to $150 an hour, with the average call lasting two hours, but the Eckerd students charge nothing for their services. They cover the water south to Longboat Pass, north to John's Pass, west about 10 miles into the Gulf of Mexico and anywhere in Tampa and Boca Ciega bays. Crews are on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
To contact EC-SAR use VHF 16/68 or call (727) 864-8256. They also can be reached through Coast Guard Group St. Petersburg. Specify "Eckerd College Search and Rescue." Be prepared to give the nature of distress, location, description of vessel, number of people on board and the VHF channel or phone number for contact.
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