Coast Guard rescues 3 on boat beset by weather in Lake Ontario

d9CLEVELAND – The Coast Guard rescued three people from Lake Ontario Monday morning after the sailboat they were on became disabled three miles northwest of the entrance to the Niagara River.

At 10:30 a.m., a watchstander at Coast Guard Station Niagara, New York, received a mayday call over marine radio from a person on a ­­30-foot sailboat with two other people aboard. The man said they were unable to make way because their sail was torn and they did not have a motor and were getting tossed around by the wind and waves.

Three people aboard a 30-foot sailing boat in Lake Ontario fight to keep the boat afloat as they are being towed to safety by a Coast Guard 45-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Niagara, New York, July 28, 2014.  The owner of the boat called the Coast Guard via marine radio after the sail on the vessel was torn and they were unable to make way in gusts of winds up to 25 miles per hour and 8-foot waves.   U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Peter York

Three people aboard a 30-foot sailing boat in Lake Ontario fight to keep the boat afloat as they are being towed to safety by a Coast Guard 45-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Niagara, New York, July 28, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Peter York

A rescue boat crew launched aboard a 45-foot response boat from the station, arrived on scene and towed the sailboat to the Youngstown, New York, Yacht Club in the Niagara River.

The weather was reported to be winds gusting at more than 25 miles per hour and waves up to eight feet.

“The importance of having a reliable means of communication can’t be stressed enough,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Craig Case, Coast Guard Station Niagara executive officer.

“By taking along a marine radio with GPS capabilities, these boaters helped us to help them.”

The Coast Guard recommends having a marine band radio and visual distress signals. While many boaters rely on cell phones for emergency communications on the water, VHF-FM radios are much more reliable in the marine environment and work in areas where cell phones sometimes don’t.

The Coast Guard also recommends that boaters take a personal locator beacon along with them when heading out to enjoy the water. Once a PLB is activated, it can transmit your position to rescuers within three feet via satellite, essentially taking the search out of search-and-rescue.

Click the photo for more from the rescue.


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