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9th District Great Lakes Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard

News Release

June 15, 2014


Ninth Coast Guard District

Contact: Ninth Coast Guard District External Affairs Office

Email: D9PublicAffairs@gmail.com

Office: (216) 902-6020

Mobile: (216) 310-2608

U.S. Coast Guard assists Canadian Coast Guard, rescues two from raft adrift on Lake Huron

CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard rescued two women in a raft in Lake Huron near Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, Sunday night.

The names of the women are not being released and there is no Coast Guard imagery.

At 6:30 p.m., a search-and-rescue coordinator at the Coast Guard 9th District command center in Cleveland received a phone call from a representative at Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton asking for assistance in locating the two women. The women and their raft were reportedly pushed from the shore by winds and could not get back on their own.

A rescue air crew aboard a MH-65C Dolphin helicopter launched from Air Station Detroit, and a rescue boat crew aboard a 45-foot response boat launched from Coast Guard Station Port Huron, Michigan.

The rescue boat crew located the two women, transferred them to a Canadian Coast Guard ship and were later transported to shore.

The Coast Guard encourages swimmers and boaters to always check the current and forecasted marine weather before heading to the water. Even on seemingly nice days, wind, waves and underwater currents may be more than the average swimmer or boater can handle.

The following are additional safety tips all boaters should abide by:

  • Wear a life jacket at all times — The law states you must have a life jacket for every person on board, but the Coast Guard suggests you go one step further and wear your life jacket at all times when boating. It is much more difficult to locate, access, or don a life jacket at the moment the accident occurs. More information about life jackets can be found on the Coast Guard's Boating Safety Resource Center website.
  • File a float plan and leave it with someone who is not recreating on the water — A float plan is a lifesaving device on paper and can assist emergency responders with locating a distressed mariner. More information, as well as a downloadable float plan can be found on the Float Plan Central website.
  • Have a marine band radio and visual distress signals — While many boaters rely on cell phones for emergency communications on the water, VHF-FM radios are much more reliable in the marine environment and work in areas where cell phones sometimes don’t.  When a mayday is broadcast over channel FM Channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, multiple response agencies, and other nearby boaters can hear the distress call and offer immediate assistance.  Additionally, in accordance with federal law, recreational boats 16 feet and longer are required to carry visual distress signals such as flares, smoke signals or non-pyrotechnic devices, and vessels 12 meters or longer are required to carry sound-producing devices such as whistles, bells and gongs. State and local laws may require further safety equipment.
  • Have a registered 406MHz emergency position indicating radio beacon — When a 406MHz EPIRB signal is received, search-and-rescue personnel can retrieve information from a registration database. This includes the beacon owner's contact information, emergency contact information, and vessel/aircraft identifying characteristics. Having this information allows the Coast Guard, or other rescue personnel, to respond appropriately.
  • Have a personal locator beacon — A PLB is a compact device that is clipped to a boater, normally on the life jacket he or she is wearing.  Once activated in a distress situation, the PLB transmits a 406 MHz signal to the International Cospas-Sarsat Satellite System, which provides distress alert and location data for search and rescue operations around the world.
  • DO NOT boat under the influence of alcohol — Alcohol affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination. Factor in boat motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray and a drinker's impairment is accelerated. More information about the dangers of boating under the influence can be found on the Coast Guard's Boating Safety Resource Center website.

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