CAPE LOOKOUT, N.C. — Five people were rescued from a catamaran Friday as Tropical Storm Ophelia tracked towards coastal North Carolina with gusty winds and 6-8 foot seas.
The Coast Guard said the group, including three children, were in a 38-foot vessel, moored in Cape Lookout when weather conditions turned rough.
Responders said the owner of the boat named "Wanderful Life" did not feel comfortable in the Lookout Bight channel and requested help after sunset.
When the rescue crews arrived, they reported all the passengers were wearing life jackets and safely transferred the boaters to their vessel.
Boat owners were encouraged to move their vessels to inland locations to help prevent damage before the storm, but the Coast Guard did not say why the group attempted to ride out the near hurricane on the water.
Seas were reported to be 6-8 feet, and winds were just below tropical storm force when the rescue occurred.
Conditions likely worsened overnight as Ophelia made landfall near Morehead City, North Carolina, with sustained winds estimated to be around 70 mph.
An observation site around Cape Lookout reported a wind gust to 72 mph, which was just shy of hurricane strength.
The boat’s owner will be responsible for surveying the vessel for damage and hiring a salvage company if the catamaran was significantly damaged during the storm.
There were no reported injuries associated with the incident, and the Coast Guard reminded everyone to continue to stay clear of beaches and waterways as conditions slowly subside.