Three commercial fishermen operating out of Bodega Bay were rescued Monday from the ocean near the mouth of the Russian River after their boat struck a rock, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard received a distress call from the boat's captain shortly after 6 a.m., said Petty Officer Steven McDougal.
The 40-foot vessel, the Robert Croll, was taking on more water than it could bail after striking a rock near Sunken Reef, about two miles north of the Russian River.
The boat was submerged by the time the Coast Guard arrived and the three men were floating in a life raft about 500 yards from shore, McDougal said.
The Coast Guard found the men in the foggy, early morning light less than an hour after the call came in by tracking the signal of an emergency response beacon on the boat and the flame of a red parachute flare.
McDougal said the rescue was made easier because the men on the boat had used their safety equipment and reported the their distress quickly.
"This was one of the smoothest search-and-rescue cases we've had in a long time," he said.
McDougal did not release the names or residences of the three men, but said the boat was based out of Bodega Bay. He estimated that two of the men were in their mid-30s. The other was in his mid-50s.
All three were unharmed.
The boat remains submerged, and the owners will have to decide whether or not to try salvaging it, McDougal said.