Coast Guard rescues 2 after vessel collision in Lake St. Clair

Great Lakes Coast Guard NewsCLEVELAND — A rescue boatcrew from Coast Guard Station St. Clair Shores, Mich., rescued two people that were injured after two recreational vessels collided on Lake St. Clair, Saturday evening.

The people involved were not wearing life jackets.

Radio watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Detroit received a report at about 10:30 p.m. of a 21-foot recreational vessel with four people aboard colliding with an anchored 19-foot recreational vessel with two people aboard. The boatcrew from Coast Guard Station St. Clair Shores launched aboard a 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water, arrived on scene and found that two people aboard the 19-foot vessel had sustained head and arm injuries.

The Coast Guard recommends that mariners wear a properly fitting Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times while underway.  According to the Coast Guard’s Recreational Boating Statistics 2011 report, the most current verified statistics available, of the 533 people across the nation who drowned in recreational boating accidents in 2011, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.

The boatcrew transported the injured to Beacon Cove Marina where they were met by emergency medical services. They were taken to Mount Clemens Regional Hospital in Mt. Clemens, Mich. A boatcrew from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office towed the two vessels to shore.

This was the second vessel collision reported this weekend. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, N.Y., received a report of a 32-foot sailing vessel with three people aboard colliding with an anchored 21-foot recreational vessel with two people aboard in Lake Erie near Vermillion, Ohio. There were no reported injuries in that case.

“Excessive speed and inattention was one of the five most common reasons that Great Lakes boaters didn’t return home from a day on the water in 2011,” said Frank Jennings Jr., recreational boating safety program manager for the 9th Coast Guard District. “The other four main contributors to loss of life were drowning,  alcohol and drug use, bad weather, and overloading of the vessel.”

All boaters are encouraged to take a boating safety course. Boaters can learn the basics about their vessels and the “rules of the road” in America’s Boating Course, a new electronic boating course produced through a partnership between the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons. For more information, visit www.americasboatingcourse.com.

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