Coast Guard rescues windsurfer from icy waters of Lake Michigan

Members of Coast Guard response crews from throughout the Great Lakes region, including Air Stations Detroit and Traverse City, participate in Ice Rescue Training and a Ready For Operations Course held at Coast Guard Station Portage, Mich., which included the use of a MARSARS board (Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Casey McDonald)

Ice rescue training file photo by Chief Petty Officer Casey McDonald

MILWAUKEE – The Coast Guard rescued a windsurfer in Lake Michigan off of Sheboygan, Wis. after ice that had been blown close to shore hindered his return to land, Sunday.

A watchstander at Coast Guard Station Sheboygan received a call from a good Samaritan about 3:05 p.m. local time about a windsurfer in distress about 150 yards off of the south Pierhead in Sheboygan.

An ice rescue team of four members was dispatched on land and arrived on scene within 15 minutes, at which time the team immediately located the windsurfer, a 34 year-old Sheboygan resident.

A member of the ice rescue team, Petty Officer 3rd class Brian Rodrigues, entered the water dressed in an immersion suit while tethered to a rock onshore. Rodrigues quickly reached the windsurfer and was able to bring him onto solid ice and pull him safely back to shore.

The man was wearing a wet suit and trying to make his way back to shore for about 45 minutes. He was assessed by local EMS and released at the scene.

The Coast Guard warns everyone that venturing into cold water or onto ice, ill-prepared, can have deadly results. Everyone should remember the acronym I.C.E. which stands for Information-getting the current weather and environmental conditions to prevent putting yourself in danger; Clothing-wear the proper fitting outfits for water temperatures to prevent hypothermia if you fall in; Equipment– always wear a life jacket and carry a water-proof marine radio or a whistle in order to call for help or get the attention of persons nearby if you get into trouble. Also, carry small ice picks or screw drivers to help get yourself onto a solid ice shelf if you fall through the ice.

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