Man rescued after falling off yacht and treading water for 30 minutes

Windsor Star. By Dalson Chen.

Safe practices while boating are being emphasized by Lakeshore OPP after a sailboat mishap last week that left a person treading water with no lifejacket for half an hour.

On July 18 around 6:45 p.m., Essex County OPP and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to an incident in the waters of Lake St. Clair. The occupants of a sailboat had called 911 after the operator of the vessel fell overboard without any personal flotation gear. Of the three passengers who remained on the sailboat, none knew how to steer the vessel.

The OPP’s marine unit located the boat and brought it under control.

A U.S. Coast Guard unit searched Lake St. Clair and found the boat’s operator — who had been treading water for about 30 minutes but was otherwise unhurt.

Essex County OPP thank the U.S. Coast Guard for their vital assistance, and remind the public to take all necessary precautions when venturing out on the water.

According to Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide, it’s required by law that a lifejacket be available for every person onboard a water craft at any time.

The majority of deaths among recreational boaters in Canada each year involve someone not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD), or not wearing one properly, according to Transport Canada.

“Even if you have one on board, conditions like rough winds, waves and cold water can make it very hard, if not impossible, to find it and put it on,” the Safe Boating Guide states. “Worse yet, if you unexpectedly fall into the water, the boat (with your lifejacket or PFD on board) could be too far away to reach.

“If you remember one thing from this guide, it should be to always wear your lifejacekt or PFD when on or near the water. It could save your life.”


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