The US Coastguard was drafted in to help the stranded sailor after his 30ft yacht went up in flames off the coast of Florida

A man and his dog were rescued off the coast of Florida on Friday after his disabled yacht caught fire.

The stranded sailor, who had been drifting since Wednesday, was forced to abandon into a small wooden dinghy when the 30ft vessel went up in flames.

In a statement the US Coastguard said: “At approximately 3:30 p.m. watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a report via VHF-FM marine radio channel 16 of the captain aboard the sailboat, Southern Belle, stating his boat was disabled and he had been drifting, with his dog, since Wednesday. He stated he had food and water. Watchstanders immediately issued a Marine Assistance Request Broadcast.

“At approximately 4:30 p.m. the man reported his boat had caught fire and he, along with his dog, had abandoned ship and had boarded the sailboat’s dinghy.”

A rescue helicopter was sent to the scene, along with a 45ft response boat.

After locating the stricken sailor and his pet, the pair were airlifted to safety and taken ashore, where medical assistance was waiting.

“He contacted us via radio as soon as his situation deteriorated, was wearing a life jacket when he was rescued, and we were able to recover him safely.” said Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Somma, public affairs officer for the Coast Guard’s Seventh District.

“This case really highlights just how critically important it is to have the proper lifesaving equipment onboard. All mariners should have lifejackets, flares, a VHF radio and an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon before heading out on the water.”