Coast Guard searching for missing 14-year-old boy in Lake Michigan

Great Lakes Coast Guard NewsCLEVELAND — The Coast Guard, in conjunction with local partner agencies, is searching for a missing 14-year-old boy in Lake Michigan Sunday evening.

At 2:45 p.m., a search-and-rescue coordinator at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, in Milwaukee, received a call from the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office, with a report of a 14-year-old boy who was reportedly swept away by the current while swimming with friends in Lake Michigan, north of the Port Washington Harbor.

Sector Lake Michigan issued an urgent marine information broadcast over VHF-FM channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, to notify local marines of the search.

A rescue boatcrew aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat launched from Coast Guard Station Sheboygan, Wis.

A rescue aircrew aboard a HM-65C Dolphin helicopter launched from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich.

Currently searching along with the Coast Guard are several rescue boatcrews from Ozaukee Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department along with the Ozaukee dive team.

“The Coast Guard will continue to search as long as there is a possibility of survival,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Nathanial Parks, a search-and-rescue coordinator with Sector Lake Michigan.

The Coast Guard recommends the following tips for swimmers:

  • Swim near a lifeguard — U.S. Lifesaving Association statistics during a 10-year period show that the chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is almost five times as great as drowning at a beach with lifeguards.
  • Never swim alone — Many drownings involve single swimmers. Learn water rescue techniques you can use if someone you are swimming with is in danger.
  • Don’t fight the current — If caught in a rip current, don’t fight it by trying to swim directly to shore. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you feel the current relax, then swim to shore. Most rip currents are narrow and a short swim parallel to shore will bring a swimmer to safety.
  • Swim sober — Alcohol is a major factor in drowning. Alcohol can reduce body temperature and impair swimming ability. Both alcohol and drugs impair good judgment, which may cause people to take risks they would not otherwise take.
  • Don’t float where you can’t swim — Non-swimmers and weak swimmers often use flotation devices, such as inflatable rafts, to go offshore. If they fall off, they can quickly drown. No one should use a flotation device unless they are also able to swim. The only exception is a person wearing an inherently buoyant Coast Guard-approved Type I, II or III life jacket.
  • Prepare for the unexpected — Wear a life jacket while participating in any activity during which you could unexpectedly enter the water, such as when fishing from break walls or piers.
  • Avoid unnecessary risks — Walking along break walls is risky because it only takes a momentary loss of footing to invite tragedy. Jumping from break walls, waterside structures or into unfamiliar water is extremely dangerous since unseen underwater hazards may exist.
  • Additional water safety tips are available on the U.S. Lifesaving Association website.

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