Coast Guard rescues 13 people after charter boat capsizes near Milwaukee

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND — A boatcrew from U.S. Coast Guard Station Milwaukee, Wisc., rescued 13 people after the charter boat they were aboard capsized in Lake Michigan about two miles east of Whitefish Bay, Wisc., Saturday morning.

Due largely in part to the vessel owner’s actions and safety equipment, the three-person crew and all 10 passengers who were aboard the Diver’s Delight are now safe on shore in Milwaukee and have no reported injuries.

The Coast Guard 9th District command center staff in Cleveland was notified the 28-foot boat was in trouble, as well as where it was located, at 10:38 CST when the vessel’s Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon sent out a distress alert. The Coast Guard 8th District command center staff in New Orleans, La., was also notified by the same EPIRB alert just minutes prior. Additionally, the owner’s wife contacted Station Milwaukee after her husband called her to tell her the vessel capsized.

Because the boat owner’s EPIRB was registered with his cell phone number, Coast Guard search and rescue controllers in the Sector Lake Michigan command center in Milwaukee were able to contact him directly and confirm that the boat had capsized and all 13 people were sitting on top of it with their life jackets on.

SAR controllers immediately dispatched a boat crew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Station Milwaukee and an aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Facility Waukegan, Ill.

The boatcrew, which arrived on scene first, found the vessel about one mile away from the position the EPIRB provided. The Coast Guardsmen brought all 13 people aboard the RB-M and transported them to McKinley Marina in Milwaukee, where they met emergency medical technicians. EMTs evaluated and released all 13 people with no medical concerns.

A U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary boatcrew is remaining on scene with the capsized boat until commercial salvage arrives.

“Properly registered, maintained and activated EPIRBs can truly take the ‘search’ out of ‘search and rescue,’” said Lt. j.g. Casey Teeven, a search and rescue controller in the 9th District command center. “Time is of the essence when we’re responding to distress calls, so having thorough, accurate information about a vessel and its owner within seconds can make a huge difference in the outcome of a response.”

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