The U.S. Coast Guard ended its search for people in the water after the owner of a rogue vessel verified it broke away during a storm in Jones Bay Saturday morning, officials said.
The search began early Saturday when the Coast Guard received a call at around 2 a.m. from the Tiki Island Police Department about an unmanned 21-foot Sea Chaser adrift on the east side of Tiki Island, officials said.
Coast Guard Station Galveston 29-foot Response Boat and Coast Guard Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews were dispatched to the scene when the Coast Guard was unable to make contact with the owner of the vessel, officials said.
The owner of the boat contacted the Coast Guard after a notification through social media and confirmed that it had broken away from his boat slip during heavy storms that rumbled through the area late Friday into Saturday.
"The Coast Guard treats cases of adrift vessels the same as a man overboard until we can be certain the owner or operator is accounted for," said Petty Officer 1st Class Phillip Woods, an operations specialist at Sector Houston-Galveston. "Registering your vessel through Texas Parks and Wildlife with accurate contact information is an important step in assisting the Coast Guard with identification."
Coast Guard officials also urged boat owners to ensure their vessels are secured properly ahead of any inclement weather.