Coast Guard rescues 5, helps dewater boat taking on water near Mackinac Island

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CLEVELAND – The Coast Guard rescued five people late Friday afternoon and assisted in dewatering a vessel taking on water near Mackinac Island, Michigan.

At about 4 p.m., the Coast Guard received a call for help, from the operator of a 54-foot pleasure craft named Soulmate, via VHF-FM radio and over a Rescue 21 tower. The vessel was reportedly taking on water in the vicinity of Mackinaw City, Michigan, northeast of Mackinac Island, and the bilge pumps could not keep up with the incoming water.

A search and rescue coordinator at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, immediately directed the launch of a rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Ignace, Michigan, aboard a 45-foot response boat. The SAR coordinator was able to get a vessel description and a last known position prior to losing communications with the distressed boaters.

The Soulmate was underway with two other boats in their party. The three children aboard the Soulmate boarded a nearby friend’s boat but the two adults remained aboard the Soulmate.

Once on scene the Coast Guard rescue boat crew sent two members of their boat crew aboard the distressed boat along with a P-6 dewatering pump to help with the dewatering. The remaining rescue crew hooked up a stern tow and towed the Soulmate to Mackinaw City Harbor, where they were immediately put in haul out.

“The boaters aboard the Soulmate did everything in their power correctly and remained calm throughout the whole ordeal,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael White, the coxswain of the rescue boat. “Sometimes bad things happen on the water beyond our control, but this rescue was successful due to the tremendous teamwork between the calm boating party and the actions of our rescue crew.”

The Soulmate was hauled out of the water safely at about 7:15 p.m.

The boaters reportedly hit an uncharted submerged boulder, which tore off the boat’s azipods causing the flooding.

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