Coast Guard rescues surfer from southern Lake Michigan

Large waves on Lake Michigan crash against the pier in Saint Joseph, Mich., Oct. 9, 2015. The high waves, nearing 7 feet, and 20-knot winds prompted the rescue of a surfer after he was overcome by them. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Station Saint Joseph)

Large waves on Lake Michigan crash against the pier in Saint Joseph, Mich., Oct. 9, 2015.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Station Saint Joseph)

SAINT JOSEPH, Mich., — The Coast Guard rescued a 19-year-old man who was swept offshore by a wave while surfing with friends at Lions Park Beach near Saint Joseph early Friday evening.

“The surfer was able to endure the treacherous conditions long enough for a boat to arrive and provide assistance,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Dan Butler, a boatswain’s mate at Coast Guard Station Saint Joseph. “The crew was able to save him before he was overcome by the rough seas and rip-current.”

Around 4:30 p.m., EDT, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, in Milwaukee, received simultaneous reports from Station Saint Joseph and the Berrien County 911 dispatch of a male surfer who had been swept offshore by a wave. The man was last seen clinging to his white surfboard approximately a quarter mile offshore and was being pushed toward the water treatment plant.

Sector Lake Michigan directed the launch of a boat crew from Station Saint Joseph aboard a 45-foot response boat and requested the launch of a Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan.

The Station Saint Joseph crew arrived on scene and was vectored to the man’s last known position by his two friends who had reported the emergency. The crew located and rescued the man using heaving lines due to the proximity to shore and the depth of water. The crew then transported him back to the station where they were met by emergency medical services personnel.

The Coast Guard reminds people of the importance of having a buddy while recreating out on the water and to always be aware of the changing conditions.

The surfer reported no injuries and required no medical assistance.

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