Coast Guard rescues 3 Americans from boat taking on water in Canadian waters

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CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard rescued three people from a boat taking on water in the vicinity of Fort Erie, Ontario, near the Buffalo River Thursday morning.

At about 9:10 a.m., a watchstander at Coast Guard Station Buffalo received a phone call from Buffalo 911 dispatch, reporting a 20-foot, U.S.-flagged vessel was taking on water with three people aboard. A search-and-rescue controller from Coast Guard Sector Buffalo began issuing urgent marine information broadcasts, which announces a request for assistance from anybody in the vicinity of the distressed boat.

Boatcrews aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, from Station Buffalo, diverted from a routine training exercise to assist the boaters. The SAR controller at Sector Buffalo informed a SAR controller at Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton, Ontario, about the incident and Station Buffalo’s response and also requested assistance from the Fort Erie Fire Department.

The boatcrews arrived on scene with the distressed boaters at about 9:20 a.m. Upon arriving, the boatcrews were unable to make a direct approach to the boat, because it was almost on top of Rose’s Reef. Using their knowledge of the area, the boatcrew navigated around the reef and through deeper waters to come up directly alongside the distressed boat. Crewmembers put the boat in a side-tow, began dewatering, then navigated back to deeper water. The boatcrew used a stern-tow to bring the boat to the Buffalo First Marina.

The stricken vessel was so badly damaged that the boatcrew requested an emergency haul-out during the tow, to prevent losing the boat at the pier.

“By using all our resources including GPS, paper charts, local knowledge, teamwork and case experience, we were able to safely conduct a rescue out of a tricky and potentially dangerous area,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeremy Bossinger, the coxswain, or smallboat operator, of the 25-foot RB-S. “It is important for all boaters to be aware of hidden dangers in the water. The best way to do that is to learn how to read and use paper charts, because GPSs are not always completely accurate.”

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