The ship is in heavy seas off the Carolinas. There are 17 on board. The Coast Guard is in contact.
An air crew arrived on the scene and regained contact with the ship, which has 17 people aboard, after receiving a signal from the emergency position indicated beacon registered to the Bounty.
"The vessel is reportedly taking on water and is without propulsion. The Coast Guard is continuing to monitor the Bounty's situation," said the US Coast Guard.
There are 40mph winds and 18ft waves reported at the scene, which is 90 miles southeast of Hatteras in North Carolina.
There are conflicting accounts as is normal in such stories. This was a school ship out to sea for training.
Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Campbell, with the U.S. Coast Guard, told CBC News the 16-member crew of the tall ship HMS Bounty managed to get on board two life-rafts.Her last position: N 34°22' W 074°15'
"We have two H-60 helicopters en route to attempt to hoist the 16 people on board the helicopters and bring them back to shore," Campbell said Monday morning.
The crew decided to abandon ship after getting caught in 5.5-metre seas off Cape Hatteras and the U.S. Coast Guard dispatched a Hercules C-130 aircraft to try to get the crew to safety.