Coast Guard assists stranded boaters on Lake St. Clair

Great Lakes Coast Guard NewsCLEVELAND — The Coast Guard assisted two boaters who became stranded on Lake St. Clair after their boat battery died, Sunday evening.

At 6:45 p.m., a search-and-rescue watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Detroit received a report of a flare sighting in the vicinity of Gaukler Shoals. The reporting source reported seeing the flare from his house and remained in contact with the Coast Guard throughout the entire process, even giving directions to the Coast Guard rescue boatcrew, from Station St. Clair Shores, Mich., aboard a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft–Law Enforcement.

The rescue boatcrew aboard the 33-foot SPC-LE arrived on scene with the disabled vessel at 6:55 p.m., and towed it to Jefferson Beach. There were no reports of injuries and no need for further assistance once the two men reached shore.

The two boaters reportedly tried to wave down passing boaters but couldn’t get anyone’s attention, so they shot a flare to signal for help.

“This was a successful case because the boaters who became disabled were prepared and had non-expired flares onboard their boat,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Griepsma, coxswain of the SPC-LE.  “Rescues or assists that come from flare sightings don’t often come out successful because many boaters don’t use flares properly or don’t shoot them off at the appropriate times. Plus boaters often times don’t know how to properly report a flare sighting.”

Click here for tips on how to successfully report a flare sighting and for tips on when and how to shoot a flare.

The Coast Guard also reminds boaters that a VHF-marine radio is the best form of communication while on the water. Cell phones are often unreliable sources of communication while boating.

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