ST. CLAIR SHORES (WWJ) –  Two people in a canoe on Lake St. Clair were rescued over the weekend, thanks to a signal from a mobile phone.

U.S. Coast Guard officials say the two men found themselves stranded because of the weather, but luckily had their phones on board.

WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke with Petty officer Christopher Yaw, with the Cleveland Coast Guard station.

“They said they could see land but they couldn’t get to it because they were being pushed offshore because of the wind — and they were not able to provide their location,” said Yaw. “So tower watchstanders with the 9th Coast Guard District command center in Cleveland contacted one of the boater’s cellular providers to obtain the coordinates from the cell phone transmissions.”

Yaw says thanks to the coordinates, a helicopter was able to find the two and hoisted them onto the chopper.

Both were taken to a hospital for treatment of hypothermia but were expected to be fine.

Yaw stressed that, when boating, it’s always important to be prepared.

“Cell phones are always a good idea to take out with you, but not necessarily as a primary means of communication,” Yaw said. “Having a VHF radio that can have Channel 16 on it — the Coast Guard’s always monitoring Channel 16, so that’s probably the best way to get a hold of the Coast Guard in case of an emergency.”

Yaw also recommends bringing other signaling devices on board, such as flares, that may help a rescue team locate you.


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