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USCG Rescue Kayakers

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GRAND PORTAGE, MN  ----  July 15, 2014 ---- A Coast Guard boat crew rescued 2 men and a woman on western Lake Superior near Grand Portage, Minnesota, after they became beset by USCG weather while kayaking Sunday afternoon.

The names of the kayakers are not being released and there is no Coast Guard imagery or video available for this case.

Just before 4:30 p.m., EDT, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, received a mayday broadcast on VHF-FM channel 16 from three kayakers who were beset by wind while on their way from Grand Portage to Lucille Island.

Unable to maintain good communications, Sector Sault Ste. Marie directed the launch of a boat crew from Coast Guard Station North Superior in Grand Marais, Minnesota, aboard a 25-foot response boat. They also contacted the Grand Portage Marina Harbormaster to assist relaying communications between the kayakers and Sector Sault Ste. Marie watchstanders.

Because of distance and winds blowing around 25 mph and a sea state around 5 feet, the Station North Superior crew trailered the response boat from Grand Marais to Grand Portage, a distance of about 35 miles, an entrance point from which they launched.
Just before 5 p.m. local time, the response boat crew arrived on scene, brought all three people aboard and towed the kayaks back to Grand Portage Marina.

All three kayakers were wearing their life jackets and reported no medical concerns.
"The importance of having a reliable means of communication can't be stressed enough," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Alex Hill, a coxswain at Station North Superior. "By taking along a handheld marine radio with GPS capabilities, these boaters helped us to help them."

The Coast Guard also recommends that boaters take a personal locator beacon along with them when heading out to enjoy the water. Once a PLB is activated, it can transmit your position to rescuers within three feet via satellite, essentially taking the search out of search-and-rescue.

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