Coast Guard Locates Passenger Vessel Lost In Heavy Fog
The Coast Guard located a motor vessel with 49 people aboard after one of the passengers called 911 stating she was concerned that the operator had become disoriented in heavy fog off of Navy Pier near the Chicago Harbor breakwall, June 9.
Shortly before 11 p.m., a watchstander in the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan command center received a call from Chicago 911 that a concerned passenger aboard the mv. Serenity, a 56-foot yacht, reported the vessel had become disoriented in heavy fog with visibility less than 1/4 of a mile.
The Coast Guard launched a rescue crew aboard a 45-foot response boat from the Chicago Maritime Safety Station near Navy Pier and began the search. The passenger, who was communicating with the Coast Guard on a cell phone, helped guide the rescue crew toward 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, the Coast Guard said. Federal and state laws require all boaters 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.
“The Coast Guard takes safety on the water very seriously,” said Chief Warrant Officer Matt James, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor. “This voyage could well have had a much different and tragic ending for these passengers, given the vessel had no way to communicate, was lost in fog in an area that typically sees an increase in boat traffic on a Saturday night after fireworks, and did not have enough life jackets for everyone aboard.”