COURTESY ANGELA HENDERSON / U.S. COAST GUARD
The sailboat H20I.Q. sat next to the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi yesterday after being towed by rescue crews to the Coast Guard base at Sand Island. The vessel was found adrift yesterday, 30 miles west of Waianae.
Boater’s friends hope for best
Rescue crews search the waters off Waianae for a missing 56-year-old
Friends of a missing 56-year-old man whose sailboat was found adrift off Waianae say he did not know how to sail.
Charles D. Wilson's friends describe him as a happy man who lived on his 27-foot sailboat, H20I.Q., at Keehi Boat Harbor because it was relatively inexpensive. Wilson left the harbor by Oct. 10, the day after his permit for a boat slip expired.
He has not been seen since, and the Coast Guard spotted the boat adrift Wednesday morning with no one on board.
The Coast's Guard's C-130 airplane, HH-65 rescue helicopter and cutter Kiska continued the aerial, water and shoreline search for Wilson yesterday, but suspended the search at 5:30 p.m. They covered about 2,600 square miles of water, said a Coast Guard spokeswoman. The Coast Guard focused their search 30 miles west of Waianae, where Wilson's vessel was found.
A rescue swimmer boarded the boat and found a pack of flares with one missing, six life vests and Wilson's wallet, cellular phone, watch and driver's license.
Some of Wilson's friends said they saw him leave the harbor early on Oct. 10. Police said he intended to relocate his vessel to Waianae Boat Harbor.
"Please, if anything, just find my friend," said Rudolph K. Salvador, whose boat was moored next to Wilson's at Pier 400 of Keehi Boat Harbor.
Wilson, a disabled Vietnam War veteran, is the nicest guy with a good heart, said David, who did not want give his last name. "He's always happy."
Friends said he was a recluse and had health problems. About a week ago, David, whose boat was moored a few slips away from Wilson's berth, said he called Wilson on his cellular phone to check on him, but his call was not returned.
Harbor staff noted that he was responsible, polite and punctual with his slip payments, said Deborah Ward, spokeswoman of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
He had a 90-day temporary mooring permit at Berth 415. He bought the boat from a former tenant at Keehi Boat Harbor on July 11, the day he obtained the temporary permit. Ward said Wilson stayed aboard the vessel and planned to leave the night of Oct. 9, the day his permit expired.
Ward said Wilson is the registered owner of the vessel. Friends said he was not a sailor, but bought the boat to live on it.
The vessel's registration expires in April. A boat inspection conducted in April and July determined that it was in good condition mechanically and physically. Inspectors check for proper safety equipment aboard the vessel, including flares, floatation devices, a fire extinguisher and a horn or whistle. Ward added that Wilson's boat had auxiliary power, a Mercury 9.9-horsepower outboard motor.
The Coast Guard had said the boat's engine was not working and that the mast was broken.
While it is not a requirement, officials recommend boaters to file a float plan with either the harbormaster or their family members or friends to inform them of their destination. Ward said Wilson did not file a float plan.
Wilson is 5-foot-11, 230 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on him can call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.