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Capsized boat completes crossing of Lake Michigan PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 12 July 2017 18:06

Vessel abandoned after men were rescued off Port found 80 miles away

    When the Port Washington fire department rescued three men from a capsized 17-foot fishing boat June 18, officials believed the vessel would sink a little more than two miles off the city’s shore.
    That didn’t happen. The boat was recovered by the Coast Guard near Big Sable Point lighthouse just north of Ludington, Mich., on June 30.
    A “good Samaritan” reported the boat floating upside down, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Frank Carpenter, who is assigned to the Coast Guard station at Manistee, Mich.
    The Coast Guard towed the boat to the Manistee station, flipped it and dewatered it. Officials then contacted the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to determine the owner via the boat’s registration number, Carpenter said.
    The owner was notified that his boat had been recovered, and he picked it up the following day, he said.
    “He seemed pretty happy,” Carpenter said.
    The story started about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, June 18, when the fishing boat began taking on water over the sides while three men were fishing in choppy waters. The men used a waterproof iPhone 7 to call for help.
    When the Port fire department’s rescue boat arrived at the scene, it found the men atop the overturned boat. The men were brought on board, then transferred to the Ozaukee County rescue boat, which brought them to shore.
    Port Fire Chief Mark Mitchell said a Coast Guard helicopter responded to the scene and saw the boat was under the surface of the water.
    “They didn’t make any attempt to recover it,” he said.  
    In case you’re wondering, the vessel traveled 70 nautical miles — the equivalent of 80.5 highway miles — across Lake Michigan from Port to a point that’s roughly east of Manitowoc.
    It was a remarkable trip, Mitchell said, given that the boat traveled across a lake without bumping into the many freighters and pleasure craft that ply the water.
    The overturned boat apparently avoided them on its travels because it was in pretty good shape when it was recovered, Carpenter said.
    He noted that the vessel was designed to be inherently buoyant.
    “You could technically fill it up with water and it would still float,” Carpenter said.
    Still, he didn’t lose perspective on the case.
    “The boat floated across the lake, and that’s a good thing, but the most important thing is that the people who were in it were saved,” Carpenter said. “I think that’s the biggest point to make.”Daily Press