Coast Guard Stations Milwaukee and Sheboygan team with local fire departments to assist duck hunters

d9MILWAUKEE – The Coast Guard and the Port Washington and Cedar Grove Fire Departments came to the assistance of two duck hunters on Lake Michigan Friday.

A 911 dispatcher contacted Coast Guard Station Sheboygan at 11:30 a.m. about two men whose 14-foot boat was taking on water one mile north and about one-quarter mile east of Harrington Beach State Park. The two hunters called 911 when their engine stalled and their boat began taking on water over the sides.

Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan Command Center directed Station Sheboygan and Coast Guard Station Milwaukee to launch crews aboard their 25-foot and 45-foot response boats respectively. The crew from Station Sheboygan trailered their boat and drove to a boat ramp near the location of the distress to arrive on scene faster.

At about 12:18 p.m., crews from Station Milwaukee and the Port Washington and Cedar Grove Fire Departments arrived on scene. The crew from Cedar Grove removed one of the men, who was suffering from mild hypothermia, and brought him to waiting EMS onshore, who took the man to Aurora Hospital. The Port Washington crew took the distressed boat, with the other man aboard, in side tow to a nearby marina.

The water temperature at the time was reported to be 41 degrees.

The Coast Guard warns of the dangers of cold water boating, and advises boaters to dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. Cold water drains a body’s heat dramatically faster than cold air.

“In cold weather, the wind, water, and air temperature work together to drain your body heat much faster than you might expect,” said Lt. Cmdr. Walter Pierce, Sector Lake Michigan command duty chief. “Boaters should check the forecasted weather in advance and ensure their boats and their clothing and outerwear is up to the task. This includes ensuring their boat engines are operating properly and they are wearing proper flotation devices”

This is the fourth case on the Great Lakes in recent days involving hunters or trappers. Senior Chief Petty Officer Eric Lange, a Coast Guard gunner’s mate assigned to the Ninth District Response Department and an avid outdoor enthusiast and hunter, shared hunter safety tips.

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