Coast Guard Searching for Missing Kayaker in Saginaw Bay

CLEVELAND – The U.S. Coast Guard commenced a search for an overdue 27-year-old male kayaker along the eastern shoreline of Saginaw Bay, Mich. near Fish Point, Wednesday, at approximately 11 p.m.

Coast Guard Station Saginaw River, Mich. small boat crews and an aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit are searching for Nathan Southgate, whose kayak was located overturned approximately one-and-a-half miles northwest of the ramp where he launched at Sunset Marina.

“The 41 [41-foot utility boat] and the helo [HH-65C rescue helicopter] searched throughout the night, and local law enforcement, friends and his family searched wooded, swampy areas on the shoreline as well,” said Cmdr. David Beck, Chief of Response, Coast Guard Sector Detroit.

A Station Saginaw River 41-foot utility boat (UTB) crew and an HH-65C crew conducted search patterns over the water and shoreline, while the Saginaw River 25-foot small response boat crew (RB-S) conducted a search of the bay and shallow shoreline.

Apparently, Southgate launched his kayak from a ramp near the marina, Wednesday, at approximately 6 p.m., and his family expected him back by 9 p.m. When he did not return at the prescribed time, his family contacted 911 and the the Coast Guard to report him overdue. It is not known if he wore his life jacket.

The Coast Guard advises everyone to file a float plan, which should be completed and left with someone who is not going with the recreational boater. A float plan is a lifesaving device on paper and provides emergency responders with valuable information of they need to search for a distressed boater.

Information on a float plan, and how to obtain a blank float plan, can be found at

In addition, the Coast Guard requires all recreational boats to carry one wearable personal flotation device (PFD) (Type I, II, III or Type V PFD) for each person aboard. Any boat 16 feet and longer (except canoes and kayaks) must also carry one throwable PFD (Type IV PFD).

The law states you must have a PFD on board, but the Coast Guard recommends everyone wear a PFD at all times when boating. It is much more difficult to locate, access or don a PFD at the moment an accident occurs.

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