FORT SHERIDAN, Ill. (STMW) – Two adults and two children were rescued Sunday afternoon by a U.S. Coast Guard boat crew after the sailing vessel they were aboard capsized, sending all four into the water, near north suburban Fort Sheridan.

The boaters used a handheld VHF-FM marine radio to call for help at 11:30 a.m., after their vessel capsized, a release from the Coast Guard said.

A boat crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Wilmette Harbor was already underway on another mission at the time and diverted to assist the mariners, the release said. When the boatcrew arrived on scene at 12:09 p.m., all four people were in the 58-degree water with their life jackets on. The boat crew reported they were showing signs of hypothermia.

The Coast Guardsmen brought the two men — a 43 year-old from Deerfield and a 42-year-old from Highland Park — and the children, a 13-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl, both of Highland Park, aboard the RB-S and transported them to Highland Park, where emergency medical technicians were waiting.

The identities of the four people are not being released.

“Because the boaters used their VHF radio to call for help, rescuers were able to respond much more quickly, increasing the people’s chances of survival,” Petty Officer 1st Class Jeannie Crotty of the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan command center, said.

Had the boaters used a cell phone to call 911, an emergency dispatcher would have had to relay the information to the Coast Guard, increasing the length of time before a boat crew would be notified to launch or head in the direction of a vessel in distress, according to the release.

The Coast Guard encourages all mariners to invest in a VHF-FM marine-band radio as their primary means of communication on the water. VHF-FM marine-band radios are far more reliable than cells phones in the marine environment. VHF-FM Channel 16, the international hailing and distress channel, is monitored by the Coast Guard and state marine patrols around the clock. In addition, distress calls broadcast over VHF-FM Channel 16 will be heard by all mariners in the vicinity. Urgent safety information and weather reports for boaters are also broadcast over marine band radio channels.

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