Credit: Ashley L. Conti / BDN

A Rockland man is being charged with making a fake distress call that sent the U.S. Coast Guard on a more than five hour search in early December. 

Nathan Libby faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted, coast guard officials said.

In the early hours of Dec. 3, 2020, the Coast Guard received a “mayday” that a boat had taken on water off Spruce Head. The captain was allegedly trying to get to Atwood’s Lobster Co., but the crew of three was preparing to jump ship.

However, the search was suspended after crews failed to find a debris field or any indications that a boat sank or there were missing fishermen in the area.

“Calls like this hoax call – unnecessarily put our rescue crews at risk, drain resources, and may limit our ability to respond to actual emergencies,” said Capt. Brain LeFebvre, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England.