Coast Guard rescues 7 beset by weather in Lake Ontario

A Coast Guard 25-foot Response Boat-Small patrols Buffalo Harbor, Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 14, 2012. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Rory Boyle.CLEVELAND – The Coast Guard rescued seven people Monday night in two separate cases on Lake Ontario after they were beset by weather.

At 7 p.m., off-duty Coast Guard Fireman Jaiden Gray, a crew member of Coast Guard Station Oswego, New York, was at Rudy’s Lakeside Drive- In, in Oswego, and noticed four teens on an inflatable raft struggling to make it back to shore due to the inclement weather. Gray then notified the watchstander at the station of the four teens in distress.

A rescue crew aboard a 25-foot response boat launched from the station and brought the four teens aboard the boat and towed the inflatable raft to shore.

The teens did not have life jackets or paddles. They were also not dressed to enter the 37 degree water in case of an emergency.

At 7:20 p.m., the watchstander at Coast Guard Station Rochester, New York, received a phone call from a man in a disabled 20-foot boat with two others on Lake Ontario, two miles offshore near Ontario Beach Park.

A rescue crew aboard a 25-foot response boat launched from the station and towed them to the Port of Rochester.

“It is during this time of the year, when the warmer weather is drawing boaters onto the water, that boaters need to be mindful that water temperatures are still just above freezing,” said Cmdr. Dan Jones, chief of the Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, New York, Response Department. “When people plan on going out on the water, they should be prepared with the proper protective clothing and safety gear suitable for cold water temperatures.”

To help ensure a safe and enjoyable outing, boaters should follow these safety tips:

*             do not operate your boat or vessel while intoxicated,

*             be sure that everyone wears a life jacket and that it fits properly. In times of emergency, every second counts. Chances are, you won’t have time to look for and don your life jacket in times of emergencies. Also, be sure you have a life jacket for every passenger on board. Children under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while on the deck of the boat at all times,

*             ensure all of your communications and emergency equipment is operable,

*             purchase and carry an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) on board in the event of an emergency,

*             carry a GPS unit on board or, at a minimum, maintain knowledge of local waters,

*             have a properly working VHF-radio with Channel 16 capabilities,

*             know your location at all times to help expedite the Coast Guard’s response in an emergency,

*             tell a family member or friend your travel plans so that if you become overdue, someone can alert authorities,

*             be aware of changing weather patterns and listen to weather updates. Don’t get caught unprepared. Unpredictable storms can produce highs winds and heavy seas.

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