Three men were rescued from the water south of the Vineyard Saturday after their 20-foot pleasure craft began taking on water and sank, the Coast Guard said.

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England received a mayday call at 2:24 p.m. from the operator of the Cynthia Z stating his boat was awash with three people on board. The three men put on life jackets and entered the water with a hand-held radio, according to a Coast Guard press release issued Saturday. The operator told the Coast Guard he was somewhere south of Martha’s Vineyard near the 20 Fathom Curve.

A 47-foot motor life boat was launched from Station Menemsha along with an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod. Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast over channel 16 to notify boaters in the area that three people were in the water and required assistance.

The fishing vessel Patients heard the broadcast and located and rescued the three men 15 minutes later, the release said. The Coast Guard 47-foot motor life boat later brought the three men back to station Menemsha where they were debriefed and released.

Scott Backholm, command duty officer for sector New England, said the urgent broadcast system played a critical role in the rescue. “Good Samaritans are a force multiplier to rescue personnel and provide immediate assistance to people in distress,” he said in the release.