Coast Guard rescues stranded boater on Lake Erie

A 62-year-old man stranded on Lake Erie when his boat broke down, rescued by the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard was contacted just before 4:00 p-m Saturday, by a man who said his father had just called him, saying he was stranded on the lake in his 19-foot pleasure craft. But, the call was lost before the son could get any more information. The son did know his dad had departed from the 72nd Street Marina in Cleveland.

A Coast Guard boat and helicopter assisted in the search and his cell phone provider traced his last cell phone call.

The helicopter spotted the boat just before 7:00 p-m and the Coast Guard boat then towed the vessel back to the 72nd Street Marina.

The boat had suffered a mechanical failure.

The man has been identified as Bernard Jackson. His hometown is not known.

The Coast Guard recommends that all boaters use VHF-FM marine radios. While many rely on cell phones for emergency communications on the water, VHF-FM radios are much more reliable in the marine environment and work in areas where cell phones sometimes don't. Additionally, when a mayday is broadcast over channel FM Channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, multiple response agencies and other nearby boaters can hear the distress call and offer immediate assistance.

The Coast Guard also recommends that mariners leave what's called a "float plan" back onshore with a friend or family member. A float plan is a lifesaving device on paper and can assist emergency responders with locating a distressed mariner.

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