Coast Guard medically evacuates man from merchant vessel American Century

BAYFIELD, Wis.—The U.S. Coast Guard medically evacuated a crewmember, aboard the merchant vessel American Century, who was complaining of chest pains, Sunday, at approximately 12:30 p.m.

Coast Guard Station Bayfield launched a 30-foot response boat and Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City launched an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter after receiving a call from MedAir about the American Century crewmember.

The crew of the Coast Guard response boat reached the American Century first, which was underway approximately 40 miles northwest of the Apostle Islands, and took the distressed crewmember onboard.

“We weren’t sure what was wrong, but he was very pale and very weak,” said Petty Officer Chris Lavalle, coxswain at Station Bayfield.

The man was then transported to Bayfield, where local emergency medical services airlifted the man to a Duluth, Minn., hospital.

The Coast Guard works closely with other agencies to assist mariners in distress and encourages boaters to invest in a VHF-FM radio as their primary means of alerting distress on the water. Communication via VHF-FM radio provides superior alerting capabilities over cellular phones and is monitored 24/7 by the Coast Guard.

When a Mayday is sent out via VHF-FM radio it is a broadcast, not just one party is receiving the distress call; any nearby boaters can hear the distress call and offer immediate assistance.

A person in distress is a call away from swift rescue with a marine band radio.

To learn about regulations and additional marine band radio information, go to

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