Man Charged for Boat Sinking Hoax

A San Diego man has been indicted for broadcasting distress signals


A San Diego man is held on $25,000 bail after falsely sending distress signals to the U.S. Coast Guard four times between 2007 and 2011.

Sean Berry, 47, has been charged with felony counts for hoaxing the the Coast Guard in executing rescue missions for himself.

On four different occasions, Berry broadcasted mayday signals claiming that his boat, the Timberwolf, was sinking on San Diego waters.

The Coast Guard San Diego sector executed four rescue missions on behalf of Berry, creating possible liabilities for the crew.

The last mayday signal he falsely broadcasted was on New Year's Day 2011. Berry was arrested more than a year later, on Jan. 23, and was charged with four felony counts.

U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced the indictment of Berry on Thursday, Jan. 25, for communicating false distress messages while aboard a vessel.

"We take hoax calls very seriously because they put our crews at risk unnecessarily, and reduce our ability to respond to mariners who are in actual distress," San Diego Coast Guard Commanding Officer Sean Mahoney said.

If convicted Berry could face up to six years in prison for each count. His next court date is Feb. 27.

Contact Us