"Pan Pan...This is Coast Guard San Francisco..."
I hear this call go out over the radio on channel 16, so I lean in towards the radio to listen to it. Coast Guard San Francisco goes "We have a report of a 14ft red Zodiac in need of assistance in Raccoon Straights. Any boats available please render assistance, out". So here we are in a 14ft red Zodiac in Raccoon Straights (Part of the San Francisco Bay) and since I have been watching the other boats around us I have not seen nor can spot another red SIB or RIB anywhere. Lots of sailboats though. My first thought is they must mean us. It was a little rough and windy, so we are off plane going around 9 miles per hour so I don't beat the 3 other crew members up. No one on the boat is complaining as I am going pretty slow and just rolling over the waves, and we are staying dry.
So with mic/speaker in hand I start moving again wondering if I should contact the Coast Guard or not? About 4 minutes later a CG lifeboat comes past us headed into the straights, fairly far away but they can obviously tell we are a red Zodiac and under power making headway, so my concern is there really could be a 14ft Zodiac in need of assistance but we can not see any. We round the corner and the CG lifeboat goes out of view. A few minutes after that another call goes out from Coast Guard San Francisco that the "14ft red Zodiac has been assisted".
We had launched from Horse Shoe Cove where the Coast Guard is stationed out of. They had to have seen us come in, yet no one came out to chat. The question becomes was there really a "rescue/assistance" provided to a red Zodiac, or did someone call the CG on us, and when they saw us underway and the rest of the straights clear they called it off by saying "Assistance has been rendered", or was there really another boat in need of help? Should I have contacted the Coast Guard and let them know it wasn't us? Turning around and searching for a distressed boat wasn't really a good option as the swells were pretty big, and the crew wouldn't have been happy. Plus there were plenty of other bigger boats and lots of eyes on the water. What would you have done in our situation?