Great Lakes Coast Guard has busy weekend with rescues, assists, law enforcement activity

9th Coast Guard District News
CLEVELAND – Coast Guard crews across the Great Lakes had a busy weekend and responded to more than 100 cases of mariners in distress, rescuing five and assisting 127. Unfortunately, three lives were lost, 11 people were cited for boating under the influence, and 23 voyages were terminated for various safety concerns.

The following synopses are just a few of the responses that the Coast Guard was involved in.

A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Niagara in Youngstown, N.Y., aboard a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft–Law Enforcement responded to a sailing vessel taking on water late Friday afternoon. Upon arriving on scene, a crewmember went aboard the sailing vessel and assessed the flooding. The flooding was minimized by using the motor instead of the sails. The boatcrew escorted the vessel to safety at Pt. Breeze Marina, where it was hauled out of the water. It was determined that the vessel was leaking through the shaft seal.

Friday evening, a boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., responded to a boat taking on water with four people aboard. The rescue boatcrew, aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small, arrived on scene within 15 minutes of receiving the call for help. But, by the time they arrived on scene, the flooding was under control. However the boatcrew attached a towline line to the vessel and towed it to safety at the William R. Gregory Marina.

Also late Friday night, a Coast Guard boatcrew from Station Saginaw River in Essexville, Mich., aboard a 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water, assisted a Michigan Department of Natural Resources boatcrew in locating a person in the water in Saginaw Bay in the vicinity of Kilarney Beach. The Coast Guard boatcrew launched a parachute flare, which is capable of illuminating a search area for 30 to 40 seconds with a candle power of 125,000. The flare’s illumination allowed the MDNR boatcrew to locate the person in the water, who was floating face down. The MDNR boatcrew immediately started CPR and successfully resuscitated him before transferring him to awaiting emergency medical services. The EMS then transported him to McLaren Bay Regional Hospital in Bay City, Mich. The rescued person was an active-duty military servicemember assigned to the USS Jacksonville, homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

On Saturday, a boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Buffalo, N.Y., aboard a 25-foot RB-S assisted mariners aboard a disabled vessel that was taking on water in the vicinity of Bird Island Reef in the Upper Niagara River. The disabled boat’s bilge pump was keeping up with the flooding, so the Coast Guard towed the boat to the Erie Basin Marina where it was safely moored.

Saturday night, a boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Saginaw River, aboard a 24-foot SPC-SW, assisted a Bay County, Mich., Sheriff Department’s boatcrew in conducting a medical evacuation of a man who suffered a head injury during a boating accident in the vicinity of the Clements Airport. There were seven people aboard the 20-foot pleasure craft when it ran aground. A woman aboard the boat was also injured during the accident and hurt her wrist. The other five people aboard reported no injuries and were transported to Block Marina.

A Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor boatcrew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat–Medium patrolling the Cleveland Harbor during the Tall Ships Festival, rescued a fatigued kayaker who they witnessed capsize. The kayaker was transported to the Edgewater Yacht Club and needed no medical attention.

Sunday night, Coast Guard Auxiliary members patrolling Fairport Harbor, in Ohio, rescued two people. The people in the water were too fatigued to remount their personal watercraft after falling off them. The auxiliarists transported them to shore and towed the personal watercraft to the city pier.

“In many of the cases this weekend, recreational boaters came to the assistance of fellow boaters saving the Coast Guard and our partner maritime agencies valuable time and resources,” said Capt. Eric Johnson, chief of incident management for the Coast Guard 9th District. “In many cases, there is a fellow boater who is closer to an incident or accident who is able to respond and help much quicker than we can. However, it is important for boaters to not take on more than they can handle while rendering assistance, because there is always the potential for a bad situation to turn worse.”

The Coast Guard reminds all boaters to be vigilant in keeping our waterways safe. Most boating accidents are preventable by just planning ahead and taking the extra time to prepare for a boat outing. Always remember to wear a life jacket and have a form of communication to call for help with. Also, it is always a good idea to file a float plan with a responsible third party who is staying behind on dry land and can notify a response agency in case you don’t return to shore when you expect to.

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