Coast Guard rescues 4 young boys caught in apparent rip current off Frankfort Beach

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND–A rescue boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Frankfort, Mich., rescued four young boys who were caught in an apparent rip current in Lake Michigan while recreating at Frankfort Beach this afternoon.

The boys were three brothers and a friend, ages 13, 11, and two 9-year-olds, all reportedly local boys from Frankfort.

The Coast Guard was contacted by local 911 dispatch at 4:24 p.m., after they received a call from a parent on the beach who reported witnessing the boys being pulled into Lake Michigan while hanging onto an inner tube. A rescue crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small was already underway from Station Frankfort for a routine patrol and were diverted to respond.

The RB-S crew was on scene in less than 10 minutes. A rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., also launched aboard an MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter, but returned to base once it was determined the boatcrew had the situation under control.

Once on scene, the RB-S crew located the boys still clinging to the inner tube about one-half mile from the beach. They took the boys aboard the RB-S and transferred them back to Station Frankfort, where they were released to parents.

Although the Coast Guard does not recommend inner tubes as a dependable piece of safety equipment, there are tips that swimmers should use to help them identify, avoid and escape rip currents:

  • Identify – Look for changes in water color; water motion; incoming wave shape or breaking point compared to adjacent conditions; channels of churning or choppy water; lines of foam, seaweed or debris moving seaward
  • Avoid – Check the latest National Weather Service forecast for local beach conditions before heading out; learn to swim; learn to swim in surf; never swim alone; swim near a lifeguard; look for posted signs and warning flags indicating hazards; check with lifeguards before swimming and obey their instructions; always assume rip currents are present; if in doubt, don’t go out


  • Escape – Remain calm to conserve energy; don’t fight the current; swim across the current parallel to the shoreline; when out of the current, swim an angle away from the current and toward shore; if you can’t escape, try to float or tread water until the current subsides then swim to shore; if you can’t reach shore, face the shore, wave your arms and yell for help to draw attention


  • Assist – Get help from a lifeguard or if one isn’t available, call 911; throw the victim something that floats – a lifejacket, cooler, ball; yell instructions to escape; don’t become a victim trying to help someone else


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