Multiple agencies conduct search after submerged fishing boat is found

MARBLEHEAD, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and an Ottawa County dive team conducted a day long search for the owner/operator of a submerged fishing vessel found near the entrance of West Harbor on Catawba Island, Tuesday.

The 10-foot aluminum “Big John” boat was found in approximately three feet of water just north of East Harbor State Park by local fishermen at apporximately 6:30 a.m.

The Coast Guard conducted nine search patterns with four assets covering a search area of approximately 84 square nautical miles.

The vessel appeared to have been used recently for fishing. A trolling motor, anchor with 40 feet of line attached to it and a GPS unit were found on board, however the battery was missing.

Anyone having information related to this incident is encouraged to contact the Coast Guard at the number listed above.

Safe Boating Reminders:

  • File a “float plan” with a family member or friend who is not boating with you so they can report your intentions to the Coast Guard in the event you don’t return home at your expected time.
  • Wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket or personal floatation device at all times. The worst time to look for a life jacket is when you are already in distress.
  • Carry a marine-band radio. If you are in distress, the Coast Guard can be reached on marine-band channel 16, the distress channel. A cell phone is a good back-up. However, a call from a radio on channel 16 can be heard by other boaters and/or relayed if you are out of range of the Coast Guard. A cell phone call cannot.
  • Get a vessel safety check or take a boating safety course. For more boating safety information, go to

Coast Guard Sector Detroit directly oversees all Coast Guard missions on Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie from Alpena, Michigan to Vermilion, Ohio. To report a person in distress or the need for search and rescue or ice rescue you can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit Operations Center 24-hours a day at 313-568-9560.

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