Coast Guard assists man from submerged boat in Lake Michigan

Great Lakes Coast Guard NewsCLEVELAND — The Coast Guard assisted a man who was rescued by a co-worker from a submerged boat in the vicinity of Johnson Beach on the south shores of Lake Michigan late Thursday afternoon.

At 3:55 p.m., a watchstander at Coast Guard Station Michigan City, Ind., received a request for assistance from a pair of boaters, one of which was aboard a boat taking on water. The station also received a report from the Portage, Ind., Fire Department that there was a person in the water off Johnson Beach.

A rescue boatcrew, aboard a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat from the station, arrived on scene about 25 minutes after receiving the call. Once on scene, the rescue crew transferred a man aboard their boat from a 15-foot boat operated by his co-worker. The same commercial company owns both the submerged 22-foot rigid-hull inflatable boat and the 15-foot boat. The workers were professional mariners for the company. The boaters were reportedly preparing to remove the boats from the water and store them for the winter.

“The distressed boaters were professional mariners and even they can get into trouble, by going out into sea and weather conditions that are too heavy for their boats,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Troy Davis, coxswain of the 47-foot MLB. “We were experiencing 4- to 5-foot seas as well as 20-mph winds.”

The Coast Guard escorted the 15-foot boat to Burns Harbor, Ind., and also transferred the man who entered the water to shore and warmed him with blankets in the survivor’s compartment of the rescue boat. Both men where met by emergency medical service personnel with one man showing signs of hypothermia.

CMS Marina recovered the sunken boat and towed it to Burns Harbor.

The cause of the incident is unknown at this time.

The Coast Guard recommends that boaters wear their life jackets at all times while on the water. The Coast Guard also recommends that boaters prepare for cooler water temperatures as the season turns from fall to winter. Boaters are reminded to dress for the water temperature and not for the air temperature.

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