Coast Guard rescues 4 in Lake Huron

Great Lakes Coast Guard NewsCLEVELAND — The Coast Guard rescued two men and two young boys, Tuesday morning, who spent 14 hours in the waters of Lake Huron after their boat capsized Monday night.

A search-and-rescue coordinator from Coast Guard Sector Detroit received a report, Monday night, of an overdue vessel with four people aboard, from the owner of the boat, who reportedly lent it to friends for the day. The owner said that he expected the group to return no later than sunset Monday night and that the group stated they were departing Au Gres, Mich., toward Saginaw Bay. Their last known location was five miles southwest of Au Gres.

A rescue aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit located an overturned 18-foot fishing boat and three of the boaters, all wearing life jackets, in the water at 7:23 a.m. A nearby boater pulled them out of the water and transferred them to aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat from Coast Guard Station Saginaw River, in Essexville, Mich. They were transported to Saginaw River Boat Ramp in stable condition and declined medical services.

The fourth boater, who reportedly left the group to swim to shore, was located and rescued by a boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Tawas, in East Tawas, Mich., at 8:30 a.m. He was wearing a life jacket. He was also taken to the Saginaw River Boat Ramp, where he declined medical services.

“The search and rescue efforts of the search party were greatly assisted by the quick response of the vessel’s owner and the filing of a float plan,” said Lt. Justin Westmiller, command center supervisor and search-and-rescue mission coordinator at Sector Detroit.

The Coast Guard always recommends boaters remain in contact with someone onshore and also file a float plan. Float plans do not have to be written or submitted anywhere, but as long as someone knows the general facts of a boater’s planned outing, they can report it to the proper authorities in case of an emergency.

The Coast Guard also recommends that life jackets be worn at all times when out on the water. For boaters 13 years old and younger, a life jacket is legally required to be worn while boating.

The Coast Guard also recommends that boaters who find themselves in a similar situation — in the open water after their boat capsizes and sinks — remain with the capsized vessel and stay together as a group for as long as possible. A capsized vessel or a large group is easier for search parties to locate than a single individual.

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