SAULT STE MARIE, Mich. — Coast Guard Sector Sault Saint Marie, its small boat station in Marquette, Michigan, along with Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, were busy Wednesday with reports of capsized vessels and more than 30 unmanned adrift kayaks in Lake Superior.
“Today was a great example of the Coast Guard doing exactly what we are here to do, help people and save lives,” said Capt. Marko Broz, the commander of Sector Sault Saint Marie.
Wednesday afternoon, instructors and customers on a kayak trip to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore had to abandon their kayaks due to increasing winds and sea state. Coast Guard crews arrived on scene to aid with the search efforts and ensure no one was missing.
While conducting search patterns for possible persons in the water Coast Guard watchstanders received notification via a 911 transfer of a small overturned sailing vessel with one person on board. The reporting source could no longer see the person.
A crew from Coast Guard Station Marquette was underway in the area aboard a 45-foot response boat. The crew quickly diverted along with an aircrew from Traverse City, who was also in the area.
The crew searched the area and found the master who had abandoned ship and was attempting to swim to shore.
After helping him aboard and ensuring the master was not in need of medical attention, the crew helped to right the capsized vessel, including deploying a surface swimmer to cut lines. Both the man and his vessel were taken safely to shore.
After more than five hours of searching from small boats and helicopters all 30 persons and kayaks were saved or accounted for.