Coast Guard boatcrews rescue 6 boaters across the Great Lakes Saturday

CLEVELAND — Separate Coast Guard rescue boatcrews rescued or assisted a total of six people in three different cases Saturday in waterways across the Great Lakes region.

One common thread among all three successful search and rescue cases — all those rescued were wearing life jackets.

Search and rescue controllers at Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, N.Y., were contacted at 4:53 p.m. over VHF-FM marine radio channel 16 by the crew of a pleasure craft that had capsized in the vicinity of Sodus Point, N.Y.  All three who went into the water were reportedly wearing life jackets.

SAR controllers at Sector Buffalo directed the launch of a rescue boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Sodus Point, who arrived on scene and rescued all three people.  One was showing signs of hypothermia.

They were transported back to Station Sodus Point, where they were evaluated by EMS.  They one showing hypothermic symptoms was taken to a hospital in Newark, N.Y.

In the second case, the radio watchstander at Coast Guard Station Belle Isle, in Detroit, was notified of two women in the water east of Peche Isle in Lake St. Clair at 6:24 p.m.  The call came in from a 911 dispatcher in Grosse Pointe, Mich., who was contacted via cell phone by someone on a 32-foot sailing vessel who witnessed the two women fall off the vessel.

A Station Belle Isle rescue boatcrew, aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium already underway conducting a law enforcement mission, diverted to the scene, arriving within five minutes.

The boatcrew took the women, who were both wearing life jackets, aboard the RB-M and transferred them back onto the sailing vessel.

In the third case, the radio watchstander at Coast Guard Station Green Bay was contacted at 4 p.m. by a 911 dispatcher in Brown County, Wis.  The dispatcher had been contacted by a boater in Green Bay who witnessed a small sailing vessel capsize, sending its lone crewmember into the water about two nautical miles east of the mouth of the Fox River.

A Station Green Bay boatcrew, aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small, launched and got on scene with the man, who was wearing a life jacket and was uninjured.  The RB-S crew helped to re-right the sailing vessel, allowing the man to continue his voyage.

Besides the above six individuals rescued by the Coast Guard, one more was rescued by local authorities after a recreational boat capsized on Oneida Lake, north of Syracuse, N.Y.  One person was reportedly in the water in the vicinity of the south breakwall in Oneida Lake.  Rescue boatcrews from fire departments in Constantia, N.Y., Cleveland, N.Y., and West Monroe, N.Y., responded.

The boatcrew from Constantia Volunteer Fire Department arrived on scene and rescued the person, who was reportedly uninjured.

“We’re glad to see boaters demonstrating a personal responsibility for their safety by wearing their life jackets while underway,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Bradley Derflinger, a search and rescue controller at the 9th Coast Guard District Command Center in Cleveland.

“If they hadn’t been wearing their life jackets when they went in the water, who knows what would have happened?”

The Coast Guard recommends that mariners wear a properly fitting Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times while underway.  According to the Coast Guard’s Recreational Boating Statistics 2011 report, the most current verified statistics available, of the 533 people across the nation who drowned in recreational boating accidents in 2011, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.

A life jacket can’t save your life if you’re not wearing it.

Click here to learn more about life jackets at the Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center.

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