LAIE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An anchored escort boat participating in a BYU Hawaiian Studies sailing program capsized off Laie with no one on board Monday morning.
The U.S. Coast Guard responded with a rescue team around 6 a.m. to the 26-foot vessel after water activated the boat's on-board Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon location device. The EPIRB was triggered around midnight but the vessel's confirmed satellite position was established around 4:23 a.m. when a crew from Barber's Point station was dispatched to its location.
The boat is located approximately 50 yards offshore Hukilau Beach Park in Laie Bay and is moored near Brigham Young University's double-hulled sailing canoe, Iosepa.
The Iosepa's 12 student crew were ashore camping when the incident occurred. The owner of the escort boat, who is also the captain, was staying with family nearby and later called to the scene when a person standing watch witnessed his boat overturn.
Coast Guard officials said once their rescue crew confirmed that no one was on board, the crew met up with the boat's owner. But officials said it was still unclear exactly what caused the boat to capsize. One man with the sailing program said the captain has established a three-point anchor on the boat.
The man's insurance company will handle the salvage efforts and USCG officials say there is currently no sign of fuel release, but crews are coming out today for further assessment.
The boat was contracted by the university to assist the Iosepa traditional Hawaiian sailing canoe enter and exit the bay, as well as be on hand to assist with any other emergencies that could arise while at sea.
High seas and bad weather has kept the vessels from heading out to sea for the past several days. And now, with their escort vessel inoperable, program officials say they may have to end their three-week program earlier then the July 29 scheduled end date.
The Iosepa was built in Hawaii at BYU with master craftsmen in 2000 using wood shipped in from Fiji, according to university officials. The vessel is usually on display at the Polynesian Cultural Center when not in use for the summer traditional navigational training program. The Iosepa is a double-hulled wooden sailing canoe that is not reinforced with fiberglass like the Hokulea.
For more information on the Iosepa and Hawaiian Studies sailing program click here.