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Two lobstermen, dog saved by rescue crews off NH coast

Captain Beringer, alongside first mate Brandon Macnaughton and his dog "Gauge" were putting down lobster traps when he realized his bilge pumps stopped working. (Contributed Photo)

NEW HAMPSHIRE (WGME) -- The seas were rough on Saturday.

Waves on the water towered five to eight feet high and the wind was guesting at 30 miles-per-hour.

"It wasn't any weather I hadn't fished in before," Captain Josiah Beringer of the "Patricia Lynn II" said.

Captain Beringer, alongside first mate Brandon Macnaughton and his dog "Gauge" were putting down lobster traps when he realized his bilge pumps stopped working.

The waves continuously crashed over and into the lobster boat.

"I noticed there was more water coming down the cabin and everything down below in the cabin was floating, survival suits, and life jackets." Beringer said.

It was at that point Beringer knew he needed help.

"I thought to myself, 'Oh boy, I've never been in a situation like situation before,'" Beringer said.

"We got the call early that evening," John Harker, the Commanding Officer for the U.S. Coast Guard's Hampton Station said. "We were dispatched out for a mayday of a call of someone taking on water."

Beringer and Macnaughton, who are no strangers to the water, worked to get the water out of the boat.

They used a make-shift jar and a bucket to dump the water out as it came into the boat.

"Every time he [Macnaughton] took his bucket I would start filling up the other bucket and after about 50 gallons of water we bailed out," Beringer said.

Beringer said he called the Hampton Fire Department first because he knew they had a boat in the water close by.

"That was extremely beneficial because they were closer to them then we were and when they got on scene Hampton fire had already put over a pump," Harker said.

Then Beringer called the Northern New England Coast Guard Sector by radio, who then called their Hampton station.

They found the two lobstermen and Gauge three miles east of Hampton Harbor.

The crew was escorted back and so was their boat.

It was because both agencies responded so quickly, the boat did not sink and was towed to the Hampton State Pier.

"I can't tell you how much that means because I make a living being a lobsterman and if I lost my boat I don't know what I would do," Beringer said.

Responding officials say Beringer and Macnaughton also helped them out.

"I guess that's why I took my coast guard certified courses for," Beringer said. "You never know when you're going to be in a situation like us."

Beringer had recently completed the "Commercial Fishing Vessel Decal Program," a program offered by the U.S. Coastguard to recreational and commercial boaters.

One of the things they teach you in the course is what to do in emergency situations and what's required to have on board.

"I told Brandon to go down below and get the survival suits," Beringer said."[I told him] where the flares were, told him to get the flares."

He also put a life jacket on Gauge so that if it was necessary, all three could attempt to swim to shore.

While first responders commend Beringer and Macnaughton, they commend the first responders.

"I think greatly attributed to them have the alleviate gear on board knowing how to put the gear on and easily affecting our search and rescue to them," Harker said.

"They made sure they were there as quick as they could and I appreciate everything they did for us that night," Beringer said.

Beringer said he and Macnaughton are already planning on going back out on the water.

They traveled to Boston today to purchase new lobster bait.

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