Coast Guard rescues boater after vessel strikes breakwall, gets stuck on top

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND — Coast Guardsmen from Station Two Rivers, Wis., rescued a 41-year-old man after the 19-foot recreational boat he was aboard struck the breakwall in Kewaunee, Wis., early Thursday morning.

This rescue marks the first time a Great Lakes Coast Guard boatcrew used a craft normally intended for ice rescue in a response that didn’t involve ice.

The boater stated he left his vessel in gear as he was looking down and attempting to remove a fishing hook that became caught in his clothing when the boat struck the breakwall.

“It’s important to always be aware of your surroundings anytime you are on the water,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas Giovannetti of Coast Guard Station Two Rivers.

“Boaters should also familiarize themselves with the areas where they plan to recreate before getting underway, especially if they plan to be out after sunset or before sunrise. Navigational hazards, markers and channels are indicated on nautical charts, which can be found at most boating supply stores.”

Following the accident, the man used his cell phone to call 911 emergency dispatchers, who in turn notified the Coast Guard of the accident at 1:45 a.m. The boater indicated he was not injured, but was stranded on his vessel, which was on top of the breakwall.

A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Two Rivers, knowing the area immediately surrounding the breakwall is too shallow to safely navigate their 25-foot Response Boat-Small, loaded their Rapid Deployable Craft onto the RB-S and headed to the scene of the accident in the RB-S.

The RDC is an inflatable, non-powered craft traditionally used in the winter months and allows ice rescue teams to reach victims who have fallen through the ice.

Once on scene, the crewman inflated the RDC, and two crewmen boarded the craft and paddled to the breakwall to rescue the man. They brought him onto the RDC, threw a heaving line back to the remaining crewmen on the RB-S, and the RB-S crew pulled the inflatable craft away from the breakwall then brought all three people aboard and took the man safely to shore.

“This rescue truly showcases the ingenuity and skill of our coxswains and crewmen,” said Capt. Stephen Torpey, chief of response at the 9th Coast Guard District. “We’re always encouraging our members to think outside the box and to use every available tool to get the job done.”

“This rescue crew clearly took that advice to heart, as evidenced by their on-scene initiative, and got where they needed to be to safely rescue this boater.”

The boater is working with the harbormaster and a salvage team to remove his vessel from the breakwall. His name is not being released.


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