Coast Guard rescues 2 boaters in Little Traverse Bay, Mich.

Great Lakes Coast Guard NewsCLEVELAND — The Coast Guard rescued two people early Wednesday morning after their 22-foot recreational vessel ran aground and started taking on water in Little Traverse Bay.

A search-and-rescue coordinator from Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., received a distress report over VHF-FM channel 16 Wednesday at 12:40 a.m. CDT from a person aboard a recreational vessel, reporting the vessel had run around and was taking on water at Big Rock Point in Little Traverse Bay, about five miles northeast of Charlevoix.

A Coast Guard Station Charlevoix rescue boatcrew launched aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat.

Sector Sault Ste. Marie watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast over VHF-FM channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, to notify other response agencies and nearby mariners and request they assist if possible.

The Station Charlevoix rescue crew was able to continue communications with the people aboard the vessel taking on water over the marine radio.

The rescue boatcrew arrived on scene within 20 minutes. The 22-foot vessel had reportedly suffered a 6-inch crack in the hull when it ran aground, and water began leaking into the bilge.

“The people on the boat activated the bilge pumps, which kept the water levels low enough for us to be able to safely tow the vessel,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Klaus Eisbrenner, coxswain, or operator, of the UTB.

The vessel was towed to Ferry Beach Boat Ramp in Charlevoix, where it was safely removed from the water.

“The people on the boat did the right thing by broadcasting a distress call over the marine radio,” said Eisbrenner. “A broadcast over channel 16 not only alerts the Coast Guard but other response agencies and other boaters who can help.”

The Coast Guard recommends all boaters carry a VHF-FM marine radio because it is much more reliable in the marine environment and can work in areas where cell phones sometimes do not.

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