Coast Guard rescues 3 from vessel taking on water in Lake Erie

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND — Rescue crews from Coast Guard stations Marblehead and Toledo, Ohio, rescued three people aboard an 18-foot pleasure craft that was taking on water in Lake Erie near West Sister Island, Monday morning.

All three people aboard were wearing life jackets. Their names and ages are not being released.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Detroit received a distress call transmitted over VHF-FM radio channel 16 at about 10 a.m. A Coast Guard Air Station Detroit helicopter crew, aboard an MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter, was already in flight and diverted to assist. The crew from Coast Guard Station Toledo launched aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat, and the crew from Coast Guard Station Marblehead was already underway aboard a 33-foot Law Enforcement Special Purpose Craft with a de-watering pump.

The boatcrew from Station Marblehead embarked all three passengers onto the 33-foot SPC-LE and then transferred them to the 41-foot UTB from Station Toledo for transportation to shore. The cause of the flooding is unknown. A commercial salvage company towed the vessel to Cooley’s Canal.

“We commend these boaters for taking the proper safety precautions and having their life jackets on,” said Chief Petty Officer Gabe Settel, a search-and-rescue controller with Coast Guard Sector Detroit. “By also having a marine-band radio and using it to call for help, we were able to get Coast Guard assets to them quickly and get them off their boat safely.”

Life jackets save lives. Drowning is the leading cause of death in boating-related mishaps. Most boating fatalities are the result of unexpected falls overboard, either while a vessel is underway or drifting. Of those who drown, 90 percent were not wearing a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket helps ensure a boater stays afloat so they can either self-rescue or be rescued by other boaters in the area.

All mariners are also 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. Channel 16 is the international hailing and distress frequency.

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