Coast Guard rescues boater aboard disabled vessel in Detroit River

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND – A U.S. Coast Guard boatcrew from Station Belle Isle in Detroit rescued a boater whose vessel was disabled and adrift in the Detroit River near Rockwood, Mich., Monday afternoon.

The boater used the 20-foot boat’s VHF-FM marine radio to declare “Mayday” at 4:18 p.m.

Rescue 21, Coast Guard Sector Detroit’s advanced search and rescue communications system, immediately picked up the man’s distress call and provided search and rescue controllers with a search area to direct response crews.

Boatcrews from Station Belle Isle and Station Toledo, Ohio, launched aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium and a 41-foot Utility Boat, and an aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit launched aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

The aircrew spotted a vessel flying an American flag upside down, an indicator of distress, and vectored the RB-M boatcrew to the vessel’s location.

Once on scene, the boatcrew placed the disabled vessel in tow and towed it to Humbug Marina in Rockwood.

All mariners are encouraged to invest in a VHF-FM marine-band radio as their primary means of communication on the water. VHF-FM marine-band radios are far more reliable than cells phones in the marine environment. VHF-FM Channel 16, the international hailing and distress channel, is monitored by the Coast Guard and state marine patrols around the clock. In addition, distress calls broadcast over VHF-FM Channel 16 will be heard by all mariners in the vicinity. Urgent safety information and weather reports for boaters are also broadcast over marine band radio channels.

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