Coast Guard Rescues Boaters, Dogs Near Wilmette

CHICAGO (CBS) — A U.S. Coast Guard crew rescued three people and two dogs who went out in choppy waters on Lake Michigan on Sunday, and were unable to make it back to harbor near Wilmette.

The Coast Guard said it received a call about a de-masted 37-foot sailboat that was unable to make headway using its engine on Sunday evening near Wilmette Harbor. At the time, winds were blowing at 24 to 33 mph, and waves were measured at 5 to 7 feet high.

A local boat towing company was unable to respond due to the conditions on the lake, so a Coast Guard boat responded, and determined they could not tow the boat, so instead transferred three people and two dogs onto the rescue boat.

Coast Guard Boatswain’s Mate Third Class Ray Ritter was one of the rescuers.

“We got one person off first. And then the two people left on board got the dogs and handed them to our crew members. And then we got the two other people off the boat,” he said.

Ritter said they got the three humans and two dogs to Wilmette Harbor safely.

“Every time we can rescue people off a boat – and their animals – it’s a good day for the Coast Guard there,” he said.

Ritter said the people were wearing life vests and did have a working radio on board.

“Looking at the weather before, during and throughout the trip… the Coast Guard recommends that. Just so you don’t end up in seas greater than your boat can handle,” he said.

The sailboat was left anchored about a mile offshore overnight, with its navigation lights on. It was towed away Monday morning, according to the Coast Guard.

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