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Press Release | Aug. 29, 2023

Coast Guard rescues 3 from capsized vessel near Saxon Harbor, Wisconsin

Aug. 29, 2023

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie

Contact: Lt. Joseph Snyder

(906) 748-0539


Coast Guard rescues 3 from capsized vessel near Saxon Harbor, Wisconsin

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. ⎯ The Coast Guard rescued three people from the water Tuesday, after their vessel capsized 4 nautical miles offshore near Saxon Harbor, Wisconsin.

Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie command center watch standers received a mayday distress broadcast via VHF radio at 11:26 a.m. from a person who reported their vessel was rapidly taking on water.

The Coast Guard was able to determine the caller’s estimated position using data from the VHF radio network approximately 5 miles north of Saxon Harbor, Wisconsin, and immediately dispatched a 45-foot Response Boat Medium from Coast Guard Station Bayfield.

Station Bayfield personnel arrived on scene within 45 minutes of the initial mayday broadcast and after a brief search located a capsized 25-foot vessel with three adults clinging to it approximately 200 yards from their commence search point. Station Bayfield brought the survivors on board and after determining all people had been recovered from the water transported them to Emergency Medical Services personnel who were waiting at Saxon Harbor.

“Thanks to close coordination between the Coast Guard Sector, 911 dispatch, and our boat we were able to save these people in less than an hour from when we received their mayday broadcast,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaime Rodriguez-Ayala, Station Bayfield coxswain. “They called us angels when we pulled them out of the water, and we were just so glad we were able to get there in time.”

“This clearly demonstrates how important it is to carry basic lifesaving equipment like life jackets and a VHF radio on board all vessels, even when boating recreationally, especially now that water temperatures are starting to drop down into the 50 degrees Fahrenheit range,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Edmund Foster, search and rescue mission coordinator. “Our crews were able to immediately deploy because we received a mayday over the radio. If the boaters only had a cell phone available, their call would have likely been routed to us through 911 dispatch, and even that delay of a few minutes could have caused this case to have a much more tragic outcome. Likewise, only one of the rescued boaters was wearing a life jacket, an essential piece of equipment for ensuring that, if the worst happens, you have the best possible chance of survival when the elements prevent you from being able to rescue yourself.”

For more information, contact Lt. Joseph Snyder, Sector Sault Ste. Marie Public Affairs Officer, at (906) 748-0539 or email