Great Lakes Coast Guard units rescue, assist 2 dozen boaters during 4th of July holiday

9th Coast Guard District News
CLEVELAND — Coast Guard rescue crews throughout the Great Lakes rescued or assisted 24 people from various boating incidents between late Wednesday night and early Friday morning.

At about 10 p.m., Thursday, a search-and-rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, in Milwaukee, received a report on VHF-FM marine radio of a 39-foot cabin cruiser with four adults and two children aboard that ran aground in Lake Calumet Harbor. There were no reported injuries, pollution or damage to the vessel, but the boat was stranded. Due to the non-urgent nature of the case, the Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast to request assistance from any recreational boaters in the area, local response agencies or salvage companies. Nobody was able to assist right away, so a boatcrew launched from Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor in Chicago.

The responding boatcrew was aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small, but towed a 15-foot SKF-ICE that would allow them to cross the 3-foot deep water that the RB-S could not reach. Five of the six people aboard were ferried to safety between 3 and 5 a.m., Friday. The owner of the boat stayed aboard the boat and awaited the arrival of a salvage company.

At about 9:45 p.m., Thursday, a search-and-rescue controller from Coast Guard Sector Detroit received a report on VHF-FM marine radio of a boat taking on water in the vicinity of Toledo, Ohio, on the Maumee River. Upon receiving the report, rescue boatcrews from Coast Guard Station Toledo responded along with South Shore Towing and the Rossford Fire Department. Coast Guard boatcrews, aboard a 25-foot RB-S and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, diverted from a safety patrol during a local fireworks display.

The boat taking on water was in the center position of three boats tethered together. In total, there were 12 people aboard all three boats. Everyone got off the sinking boat and onto the other two while the Coast Guard, South Shore Towing and the Rossford Fire Department boatcrews each set up a dewatering pump to control the flooding. At about 10:35 p.m., the rescue crews had the flooding under control. The Rossford Fire Department boatcrew then towed the vessel to Pier 75 to be hauled out. The cause of the boat taking on water is believed to be a broken seal on the outdrive motor.

The 9th Coast Guard District released information Thursday concerning a rescue that occurred late Wednesday night, as a rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Buffalo, N.Y., rescued four adults and two children from a boat taking on water on the Niagara River.

“The ability of our rescue crews to quickly transition from one mission to another, their innovative use of resources, along with our great inter-agency partnerships made for a successful and safe Independence Day holiday,” said Capt. Andrew Sugimoto, chief of response for the Coast Guard 9th District.

Coast Guard boatcrews across the Great Lakes region responded to 37 cases involving maritime incidents on Thursday.

The Coast Guard reminds all boaters to practice safe boating habits before, during and after recreating on the Great Lakes. Boaters should always thoroughly inspect their boat inside and out after every outing.

All recreational boats must carry one wearable life jacket (Type I, II, III or Type V personal flotation device) for each person aboard. The Coast Guard suggests boaters go one step further and wear it at all times.

Wearing a life jacket at all times when on a boat or in the water is one of the most important ways to stay safe. Donning a life jacket is much harder once a boater is in the water, especially if he is injured.

The Coast Guard urges boaters to file a float plan and leave it with someone who remains on shore. A float plan is a lifesaving document reminding others where you plan on boating, for how long, and who you are going with. It can assist emergency responders with locating a distressed mariner. Boaters can visit FloatPlanCentral.org to learn more about float plans or to download a blank one that they can use.

Changing weather conditions can put boaters in danger. Always check weather reports before venturing out and continuously monitor conditions while on the water.

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