CLEVELAND — A Coast Guard rescue boatcrew assisted two men who were aboard a pleasure craft taking on water in the vicinity of Wilmette Harbor in Lake Michigan Friday morning.
Search and rescue controllers at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, in Milwaukee, received a mayday call from the operator of the Pacifier Three, a 23-foot pleasure craft, at about 10:30 a.m. They immediately dispatched a rescue crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Coast Guard Station Wilmette Harbor in Wilmette, Ill.
The RB-S crew arrived on scene in less than 15 minutes and helped dewater the vessel. They then towed the vessel back to the Wilmette Yacht Club.
The boaters and the RB-S crew located a hole in the boat’s transom, determined to be the cause of the flooding.
“We always respond as if it is a worst-case scenario, and today was no different,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Wright, the coxswain, or operator, of the RB-S on the mission. “Luckily, these boaters were well prepared with a marine radio and life jackets, and they were not afraid to call for help.”
The Coast Guard recommends all boaters use a VHF-FM marine radio as a primary means of communication while underway, since radios are more reliable than cell phones in a marine environment. When a mayday call is sent out via VHF-FM radio, it is a broadcast, not just a one-to-one communication, as when made via phone. When mariners ask for help on Channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, nearby boaters monitoring that channel may hear the call and offer immediate assistance.
The Coast Guard also reminds boaters to thoroughly check over their boats prior to getting underway. Mariners can take advantage of a free vessel safety check.
VSCs, offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons, are performed at the vessel, and take about 15-30 minutes to complete, depending on the size of the vessel. Depending on availability of inspectors, VSCs can be conducted anywhere — from the marina to the boat owner’s driveway.
Mariners whose vessels pass the inspection are awarded a decal that informs the Coast Guard, harbor patrol, sheriffs, police and other boating law enforcement and safety agencies that the mariner’s boat was found to be in full compliance with all federal and state boating laws during a safety check for that year. Additionally, many insurance agencies offer discounts for vessel owners who undergo annual vessel safety checks.
If a vessel does not pass the safety check, a citation or notice of violation is NOT issued. Instead, mariners are provided a written report detailing how to correct any discrepancies.
VSCs may be scheduled online HERE.