A boater needs help.

What You Need To Know

And Eckerd College’s Search and Rescue team is on the way.

They jog down a pier in uniform, boarding Rescue 4.

The First mate - a senior named Montana gives directions - calm and clear.

“Let’s go ahead and get the flag up,” she says.

A crew member settles an American flag atop the boat.

Montana directs crew members to drop the lines, get the fenders and put in coordinates.

She’s helping navigate the boat, part of the only search and rescue team of its kind.

“I like doing this because we get to be out here every single day, helping the Tampa Bay community," she said.

The all-volunteer collegiate force heads out to assist that boater, leaving us to patrol with teammate and fellow senior Christa, aboard Rescue 6.

Christa has also spent four years learning about water rescue - from knots to navigation - all along the Tampa Bay area waters on the southern peninsula of Pinellas County.

“We respond to things like disabled vessels, medical cases, Christa explained. “You name it, and we are going to try and be there.”

We got to see this dedication in action, as Christa’s team rushed to offer assistance to a boat taking on water near us, mid-interview.
The crew prepped en route—with Christa calling out over the radio.

“Be advised we are with a VID be advised their pump is not working and they are taking one water.”

At the communications center, sophomore Anna is coordinating vessels and handling the distress calls.

“It’s definitely nerve wracking,” Anna explained. “You have to do a lot of thinking on your feet. And a lot of ‘I’m trained for this. I know what I am doing.’ You have to trust yourself, trust your friends. We all know what we are doing we are all trained.”

Back out on the water—it’s good news.

The boaters are able to get their pump in order - trouble averted for now - and they head to the nearby marina.

Christa says she has grown as a leader and person thanks to her team, with a unique skill-set to carry with her after graduation.

“It definitely is a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding,” Christa said with a smile.

The Marine Yard Sale has raised about 20,000 for the program in recent years, and more than a thousand people will visit the campus in search of boat and water sport bargains.