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Unmanned, adrift boat 'rescued' on Spring Lake

Becky Vargo • Apr 1, 2018 at 6:39 PM

FERRYSBURG — A Coast Guard official said the ‘rescue’ of an unmanned, adrift boat on Spring Lake Sunday afternoon is the perfect example of why people should put a contact name and telephone number on small boats.

“It will keep us from searching for a couple hours,” said Station Grand Haven Chief Justin Olson, watching from shore as the crew on the small response boat struggled to lift the water logged vessel out of Spring Lake.

If there is contact information on the boat, searchers can contact the owner to make sure there was nobody on board the boat, he said.

The Coast Guard crew responded lights and sirens at about 4:39 p.m. Easter Sunday on a report of a small boat adrift in Spring Lake just outside of Smith’s Bayou.

A strong breezed pushed the small boat quickly down the lake. It was intercepted by Olson at the Gables Condominium docks.

It was waterlogged and full of cattails, Olson said. The dirty bottom indicated it had probably been sitting in water for some time, he said.

Once the boat was aboard, the Coast Guard crew circled slowly around the Smith’s Bayou area.

Olson said easily identified bright orange stickers can be obtained from the Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary and placed on your small boats, suck as kayaks, canoes and paddle boards.

If they float away, someone can make a call and a determination whether a full-on search and rescue is needed.

Olson said, when they get a report on an unmanned boat that is adrift, they respond in search and rescue mode until it is determined there was never anyone aboard.

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