US Coast Guard rescues 5 people after heavy winds blow fishing boat against breakwall in Lake Huron

Aircrew reaches boaters with helicopter

HURON COUNTY, Mich. – Heavy winds Friday threw a fishing boat against a breakwall in Lake Huron, leading to a U.S. Coast Guard aircrew rescue.

Authorities said five men were in a fishing vessel near Harbor Beach at about 2 p.m. when the boat lost power and was blown against the breakwall by winds gusting up to 45 mph. 

An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit responded and used a helicopter to reach the men, aged 18-55, who had made their way safely onto the rocks. Two trips were made to rescue the men and bring them to emergency medical services workers, who were waiting in a nearby field.

No injuries were reported and all of the men were wearing life jackets.

“We urge all boaters to check the weather forecast before deciding to venture out into the open waters,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chad Eckhardt, pilot of the aircrew. “If your boat malfunctions in heavy surf and high winds, you can find yourself in a dangerous and life-threatening situation real fast. For anyone who falls into these cold waters, their trip can become deadly."  

The Coast Guard also urges boaters to have their vessels checked to make sure everything is in proper working order, especially before going out for the first time after the winter. 

Also, make sure there are enough life jackets for every passenger, and dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature.

The water temperature is still in the 40s. Someone who unexpectedly falls into the cold water can quickly be overcome by hypothermia, if they survive the initial shock of the cold water and the natural gasping reflex, which can cause a person to inhale water and drown.