USCG Rescues Yacht Without Nav Systems from Fog

File image courtesy USCG

By The Maritime Executive 06-12-2018 12:41:00

On Saturday night, the U.S. Coast Guard assisted a yacht just off Chicago's Navy Pier after one of the passengers called the police to report that the operator had become disoriented in heavy fog. The responders found that the vessel had no working navigation system or radio, its running lights were off, and it did not have enough life vests to supply all 49 people on board. 

At 2300 hours Saturday, a watchstander in the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan command center received a call from Chicago 911 that a passenger aboard the vessel, the 56-foot yacht Serenity, reported the vessel had become disoriented in heavy fog. Visibility was less than one-quarter of a mile, and 49 people were on board the vessel. 

The Coast Guard launched a rescue crew aboard a small response boat from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago and began a search. The passenger who was communicating with the Coast Guard on a cell phone helped guide the rescue crew towards the Serenity by listening for the horn on the Coast Guard boat. Once on scene, the Coast Guard found the vessel transiting slowly with no operating navigation system.

The Coast Guard escorted the Serenity into Monroe Harbor, where a Coast Guard boarding team went onto the vessel to conduct a routine safety inspection. In addition to inoperable navigation and radio systems, the vessel did not have enough life jackets on board. Federal and state laws require all boaters and mariners to carry enough serviceable life jackets, correctly sized, for every person onboard.

The master of the vessel was issued a Coast Guard violation for negligent operations and for operating without the required navigation lights.