MILWAUKEE – The Coast Guard rescued four men from a sinking 31-foot charter vessel about five miles off of Manitowoc, Wisconsin Friday.
At about 1:45 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee received a Mayday call over VHF-FM channel 16 from the crew aboard the vessel DATBYTES stating they were rapidly taking on water.
The Watchstander issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and immediately diverted a rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Two Rivers that was conducting training in the area. The rescue crew responded and arrived on scene within five minutes.
Once on scene, the rescue crew transferred the four men, who were all wearing life jackets, onto the Coast Guard 45-foot response boat. Two Coast Guard members went aboard the vessel to commence dewatering with a pump. The pump was unable to keep up with rising water inside the vessel and both crew members quickly returned to the Coast Guard rescue boat. The 31-foot vessel capsized and sank in 90 feet of water within minutes after everyone was safely aboard the Coast Guard boat.
“From the distress call we heard over the radio, the Coast Guard watchstanders were able to utilize the Rescue 21 system to determine the exact location of the sinking vessel and divert one of our crews that was nearby to provide immediate assistance,” said Capt. Amy Cocanour, commander of Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan. “This case is also a great example of how having the proper safety equipment on board, specifically life jackets and a marine radio, and knowing how to use the gear in times of distress can greatly enhance survivability.”
The four persons were brought to Manitowoc Marina. There were no injuries. Coast Guard marine inspectors from Marine Safety Detachment Sturgeon Bay were sent to the scene to investigate and found no signs of pollution.
The master of the vessel is working on plans to locate and salvage the vessel.