On Wednesday, September 11, a 63-year-old unidentified fisherman left the Turtle Creek Marina near Oak Harbor around 7 a.m. for a day on the water.
But after being gone for almost 12 hours, the Coast Guard Detroit Sector was alerted to the much needed search-and-rescue.
The SAR coordinator issued an urgent marine information broadcast and asked that any sightings of the boater be reported to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard launched an air crew aboard a Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Detroit, and boat crews aboard 45-foot response boats from Stations Toledo and Marblehead, Ohio.
At about 12:20 a.m. Friday, the air crew spotted a boat matching the description of the missing boat southwest of Peelee Island in Canadian waters.
Once on location, a rescue swimmer was lowered down to the boat to confirm identification – it was the missing fisherman.
The boater had been adrift for about 43 hours prior to being found.
The Ottawa County Sherriff's Department marine unit towed the boat, with the fisherman aboard, to Put-in-Bay Marina on South Bass Island, Ohio. The boater was examined and found to be in good condition with the exception of suffering from hunger and mild dehydration.
The fisherman told authorities that his 23-foot boat became disabled Wednesday morning, east of West Sister Island. He says that although he dropped the anchor, it didn't hold and the boat drifted for more than 18 miles before being seen by the Hercules air crew early Friday. He also stated that his cell phone couldn't get a signal, so he couldn't call anyone.
"We are very grateful that this search-and-rescue case had a happy ending," said Chief Petty Officer Gabriel Settel, command duty officer at Sector Detroit. "However, this man and all boaters can learn from this case. Had this boater been carrying flares, a VHF-FM radio, or personal locator beacon, the search aspect of the case could have been shortened or even eliminated.