Coast Guard assists 4 using technology and training in Saginaw Bay rescue

9th Coast Guard District News
CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard located and assisted two adults and two children early Sunday morning after they were stranded on a disabled boat for more than eight hours in Saginaw Bay.

Just after midnight, search-and-rescue controllers at Coast Guard Sector Detroit were notified of a disabled 20-foot vessel with two children and two adults aboard, near Saginaw Bay Channel Light.

The reporting source stated that he had spoken with the operator around 4 p.m., Saturday, about the vessel being disabled.

It is unknown why it was not reported until just after midnight.

A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Saginaw River, in Essexville, Mich., was launched aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium and an aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit was launched aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

Sector Detroit rescue controllers made several radio transmissions, using Rescue-21, to the vessel but only received back static. However, the static was consistent for each call out and created fixed lines of bearing that put the boat’s location in the vicinity of Saginaw Buoy Channel Light 1.

Sector Detroit made a third transmission saying, “If this is the vessel transmitting, Coast Guard Sector Detroit only hears static, but we have a direction finding fix on your position. Reply with a transmission for 20 seconds.”

Sector Detroit’s transmission was followed by a 20-second transmission of static. Sector Detroit and the vessel continued to communicate in this fashion every 15 minutes. Instructions to put on life jackets and that the Coast Guard was en route were also passed by Sector Detroit and replied to with the same static as before.

The Station Saginaw River boatcrew proceeded to the location of the fix and was able to pick the vessel up on their radar.

The response boat and the helicopter arrived on scene simultaneously and confirmed that it was the disabled vessel.

Station Saginaw River towed the disabled vessel to Station Saginaw River.

There were no injuries reported and the cause was determined to be alternator and battery failure.

“The experience and training of Coast Guard personnel played a huge role in the success of this rescue,” said Lt. Jeff Prebeck, the command duty officer with the Coast Guard 9th District. “The mariner did the right thing as well, by keeping an up-to-date float plan with a shore-side contact and equipping his vessel with a VHF-FM radio.”

The Coast Guard wishes to remind mariners to ensure they file a float plan with a trusted shore-side contact, telling where you are going and when you’ll be back, and if anything changes to update their float plan.

The Coast Guard also reminds mariners to ensure that they are carrying all of the proper safety equipment, such as flares, a VHF-FM radio, and other emergency signaling and communication devices on board their vessel.

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