Coast Guard rescues man in windy Saginaw Bay

CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard rescued a man in Saginaw Bay after his 19-foot vessel began taking on water Tuesday afternoon.

Just before 4:30 p.m., the watchstander at Coast Guard Station Saginaw River, in Essexville, Michigan, received a report from the local 911 dispatch of a 19-foot recreational fishing boat, with one man aboard, that was taking on water about 4.5 miles north of the Saginaw River.

A Station Saginaw River crew, aboard a 45-foot response boat, was training five miles away and diverted to respond.

When the response boat crew arrived on scene, they took the man aboard their vessel and assessed the situation.

Because of high winds and waves, and condition of the boat, the crew was unable to take the vessel in tow to land. The crew deployed a surface swimmer to connect the tow and towed the man’s boat to calmer water near the mouth of the Saginaw River, where they dewatered the boat.

After dewatering the vessel, the crew was able to complete the tow to Bay Harbor Marina in Bay City, Michigan, where it was safely moored.

“Boaters need to check the weather forecast before they head out,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Don Hamilton, a coxswain at Station Saginaw River. “Great Lakes weather can change in an instant, so it’s important to keep an eye out and constantly evaluate the changing weather.”

There were no reports of any injuries or pollution and the man was wearing a life jacket.

The on-scene conditions were reported to be 3 to 5-foot seas with southerly winds at 23 to 28 miles per hour.

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