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Heat Wave Keeping Coast Guard Crews Busy

Lake Michigan (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Lake Michigan (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The U.S. Coast Guard has been very busy in the Chicago area during the recent heat wave. Crews rescued five people on Monday night alone.

CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports one of those rescues happened on Lake Calumet, when the Coast Guard station there pulled a man and his 14-foot boat to safety, after the boat began taking on water.

Coast Guard members said the hot weather tends to push a lot of people out onto the water, and some of those people just aren’t prepared for rough conditions.

For mother Eqwa Scott, taking the kids to the beach means splashing along with them in the water of Lake Michigan, and sticking nearby when they’re on the shore.

“I keep them close by to me. I don’t let them wander off, and make sure they don’t go past the safety boats,” she said.

Scott said she’s heard about repeated rescue efforts on Lake Michigan, like the dramatic rescue attempt for a 14-year-old boy at North Avenue Beach last week. Lifeguards pulled the Jorge Sosa, who was celebrating after his eighth grade graduation, out of the lake after he went under the water.

But Jorge died several hours later.

On Monday, divers searched the water for a 31-year-old man whose inflatable raft flipped over near Michigan City, Ind.

The danger lurking beneath the surface of Lake Michigan is something the Coast Guard knows all too well.

U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Mark Stevens said he thinks the problems with people getting into trouble on the lake recently has mostly been the result of inexperienced sailors.

“We’re trying to educate them about the turbulence at the beach,” Stevens said.

The water might appear calm on the surface, but for smaller craft, the current could be too strong.

Tuesday night, the Coast Guard warned jet skiers to take it slow near swim areas.

“Lake Michigan is like a fresh water ocean, and Mother Nature can whip up the winds and the seas at the spur of the moment,” Stevens said.

He suggested anybody that plans to take a boat onto the lake should wear a life jacket.