Coast Guard rescues 2 men, 2 children after sailboat capsizes near Fort Sheridan, Ill.

CLEVLEAND — A U.S. Coast Guard boatcrew from Station Wilmette Harbor, Ill., rescued two adults and two children after the sailing vessel they were aboard capsized, sending all four into the water, near Fort Sheridan, Ill., Saturday afternoon.

The boaters used a handheld VHF-FM marine radio to call for help at 11:30 a.m., after their vessel capsized.

A boatcrew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Station Wilmette Harbor was already underway on another mission at the time and diverted to assist the mariners. When the boatcrew arrived on scene at 12:09 p.m., all four people were in the 58-degree water with their life jackets on. The boatcrew reported they were showing signs of hypothermia.

The Coast Guardsmen brought the two men, a 43 year-old from Deerfield, Ill., and a 42-year-old from Highland Park, Ill., and the children, a 13-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl, both of Highland Park, aboard the RB-S and transported them to Highland Park, where emergency medical technicians were waiting.

“Because the boaters used their VHF radio to call for help, rescuers were able to respond much more quickly, increasing the people’s chances of survival,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jeannie Crotty of the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan command center.

Had the boaters used a cell phone to call 911, an emergency dispatcher would have to relay the information to the Coast Guard, increasing the length of time before a boatcrew would be notified to launch or head in the direction of a vessel in distress.

All mariners are encouraged to invest in a VHF-FM marine-band radio as their primary means of communication on the water. VHF-FM marine-band radios are far more reliable than cells phones in the marine environment. VHF-FM Channel 16, the international hailing and distress channel, is monitored by the Coast Guard and state marine patrols around the clock. In addition, distress calls broadcast over VHF-FM Channel 16 will be heard by all mariners in the vicinity. Urgent safety information and weather reports for boaters are also broadcast over marine band radio channels.


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