Coast Guard finds disabled boat with 7 people aboard, including pregnant woman

9th Coast Guard District News

CLEVELAND — U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and boat crews were in the vicinity of Sandusky, Ohio, late Sunday night when the helicopter crew came upon a 20-foot recreational boat carrying seven people, who were waving their arms to attract the aircrew’s attention.

The air and boat crews were nearly finished with a search due to an unrelated call and weren’t previously aware of the disabled Bayliner until they discovered it at 11:55 p.m., Sunday about five miles east of Cedar Point in Sandusky.

The MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Air Station Detroit directed the Coast Guard boatcrew, on a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft–Law Enforcement boat from Station Marblehead, Ohio, to the scene.  Once alongside, the boatcrew learned that, among the seven people aboard, there was a woman who is eight months pregnant.  All the boaters were reportedly lightly dressed and cold.

The mariners stated the vessel had a dead battery, which prevented the boat’s radio, navigation lights, engine and other electronics from working. They said they tried using two cell phones to call for help but were apparently too far from any towers for the phones to work.

The Coast Guardsmen instructed all seven people to don lifejackets, then took the Bayliner in tow and transported it to a dock in Port Huron, Ohio.

There were no reported injuries.

“While the boaters had all the required safety equipment on their vessel, this is a great case to show why we encourage all mariners to file float plans before getting underway,” said Lt. Justin Westmiller of the Sector Detroit command center. “We’re glad these seven people made it home safely and without incident despite the lack of a working marine radio.”

A float plan gives responders vital information such as a mariner’s intended course and destination, time of planned departure and return, a description of the vessel, and the type of safety and survival equipment aboard. The additional information provided in a float plan helps the Coast Guard direct search efforts and improves the chances of survival in an emergency.

Click here for an online float plan form, which should be filled out entirely, including instructions on who to contact if the boater is overdue, and should be left with a friend or family member.

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