Coast Guard rescues boaters in St. Clair River

Boat broke down, became adrift in Port Huron Township

Author: Lisa Ray, Managing Editor, ClickOnDetroit.com, @ClickOnLisa, lray@wdiv.com
Published On: May 23 2013 04:27:21 PM EDT

A Coast Guard rescue crew assisted three Canadians Thursday morning after their sailing vessel became disabled and adrift in the St. Clair River.

The names and hometowns of the boaters are not being released.

At 11:13 a.m., a St. Clair County dispatcher in Port Huron Township, Mich., informed search-and-rescue controllers at Coast Guard Sector Detroit of a 30-foot sailing vessel disabled and adrift just north of the Black River. 

A Coast Guard Station Port Huron, Mich., boat crew, aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small, was diverted from training and responded to the disabled vessel. In addition, the unit dispatched a second boatcrew aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat to assist and several other station crewmembers in a government vehicle to oversee the operation from shore.

Due to the potential for the vessel to drift into nearby rocks in winds of 20-30 knots, it was deemed safer for the crewmembers in the government vehicle to tie the vessel to shore with a mooring line while having the boaters use the sailing vessel's rudder to steer it away from shore. 

The crew aboard the UTB towed the vessel away from the rocks, then it transferred the tow to a Canadian commercial salvage crew, who towed the sailing vessel back to a marina on the Canadian side of the river.

The cause of the vessel becoming disabled is unknown. 

"Due to their quick and outside-the-box thinking, the crewmembers were able to safely and effectively carry out a successful assist," said Lt. Jillian Lamb, the chief of the Sector Detroit Communications Center.

The Coast Guard reminds boaters to inspect their boat and safety equipment before traveling on the Great Lakes to ensure the boat and equipment are functioning properly.