Monday, August 01, 2011

Rescue of the Weekend

Coast Guard, octogenarian, come to rescue of crowded, sinking boat in Lake Michigan...

U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Each Monday throughout the summer, we take a look at all the boating incidents from the past few days and share some of the ones that are unique and interesting, or that can provide a reminder about boating safety.

This past weekend, Coast Guard teams across the country, but one incident stood out among the rest...

9 People, 19 ft Boat
At first glance, you might thing the boat was overcrowded when it sank. 9 people on a 19 foot runabout sounds like a lot, but in actuality, 6 of the 9 onboard the boat were kids, so it is possible that the boat was not loaded beyond its weight capacity. The official Coast Guard release does not mention how this boat started taking on water, but a news article in the local Journal Sentinel states that "the boat's transom had broken off and taken the motor with it." An Associated Press article in the Chicago Tribune backs up this story.

When help arrived, the boat was submerged and water was up to everyone's knees. After the fact, a witness reported seeing the transom torn off with the engine dangling off the back. In any event, this was probably a scary situation for those on board.

Heroes
Who came to their rescue? A father and son who had just come in from a fishing trip. The son's age was not given, but the father is 83-years-old. The two men zipped out in their 22-foot fishing boat and got all the passengers from the sinking boat onboard theirs until the Coast Guard arrived.

Coast Guard Warnings
Between the JS article and the Coast Guard report there are discrepancies (e.g., the CG reports 10 boaters being rescued, while the JS and AP both report 9), but in any event it sounds like these boaters were two miles offshore without a marine radio when they ran into trouble. In their account of the incident, the Coast Guard encouraged all mariners to wear life jackets at all times when on the water, and to carry a communications device, such as a marine-band radio, while boating.

Luckily, all aboard were rescued thanks to the quick action of two fishermen.

Check out FirstBoat.com's tips on boating safety, and stay tuned to the Daily Boater for more boating safety and seamanship articles.

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