Intrigued, I did an Internet search and discovered the sad truth behind their presence on the beach. Here’s the short story of the ill-fated boat, “The Contender.”
From: District 11 Public Affairs Press Release
“Coast Guard Station Golden Gate with the help of Good Samaritan vessels rescued 28 people today after their vessel sank five miles south of the Golden Gate Bridge.
“At approximately 2:30 p.m. today, the Contender, a 49-foot chartered fishing vessel, home ported in Emeryville, Calif., placed an emergency radio call to Coast Guard Group San Francisco to report they were taking on water off of Ocean Beach. A passenger onboard the vessel also placed a 911 call from his cell phone to the Coast Guard to report they were sinking.
“At 2:45 p.m., two 47-foot motor lifeboat crews from Station Golden Gate arrived on scene to find 28 people in the water wearing life jackets. With the response and assistance of several Good Samaritan vessels, all 28 people were rescued from the surf and transported to Station Golden Gate.
“The 24 rescued passengers and four crewmembers from the Contender received medical treatment for hypothermia at Station Golden Gate. One individual did not survive.”