The Coast Guard was called to the scene at about 3 p.m. after the small boat was reportedly tipped over. It was swamped by large waves and wakes of passing boats.
“It did sink, and there were three people on board,” Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Dan Kehrein said. “They swam to the north pierhead.”
Kehrein said the boat's occupants were two adults and a child, and they are Grand Haven and Spring Lake residents. Their names were not released.
“They’re fine, just a little shaken up,” Kehrein said.
Several passing boats assisted the rescue, picking up supplies from the water and making sure the trio made it to land.
While the passengers are safe, the rowboat is now at the bottom of the entrance to the channel. Kehrein said it is the responsibility of the boat’s owners to have it removed.
According to those who were walking the pier at the time of the incident, the boat sinking happened very quickly. Debris from the boat was seen floating in the water.
“They had just been tooling around at the end of the channel, and I looked away and looked back, and it was down,” Pat Exelby said.
Exelby, who was sitting at the end of the south pier across from where the boat sank, said the distressed rowboat was very small and very shallow in size.
“Some fisherman helped the occupants get out,” she said, adding that the child on board was wearing a life jacket.