The Coast Guard rescued a man this past Sunday from the waters of Lake Michigan. The 33-year old man was kayaking when a severe storm hit. The video below shows the Coast Guard video of his rescue.
His brother, who was with him at the time, was able to paddle to a nearby island for safety. He was able to call 911 and give their last approximate location. The stranded man was rescued after nearly 6 hours in the water without his kayak.
He was wearing his life jacket, and that’s likely the reason why he was able to make it out of the incident with only mild hypothermia. Night began to fall as he was floating and fortunately he was able to flash a light to signal for help.
Search and Rescue teams used his most recent cell phone location to find the empty kayak. Soon after, the helicopter spotted the flashing light.
This incident should serve as a reminder to be aware of the weather forecast before hitting the water for the day, even if you are an experienced boater.
All too frequently, people feel that they don’t need a life jacket in a canoe, kayak, or other recreational water craft. This incident shows that this small inconvenience can end up what saves a person from a ride in a Coast Guard rescue helicopter.
His small flashlight was enough to catch the eye of his rescuers, and that’s proof enough that keeping everyday carry items on you when you’re out can end up having big benefits.
Recreational boaters and kayakers should also consider using a small Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) when headed out on the water. These are increasingly affordable and come in a range of sizes that can be mounted on board or carried on your person. With a powerful GPS system these can be activated to alert search and rescue operations of the emergency.