Tanker, recreational boat collide in Lake St. Clair

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(DETROIT) — The U.S. Coast Guard responded to reports of a collision between a 17-foot recreational boat and a 406-foot cargo vessel in Lake St. Clair approximately two miles offshore east of Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., on Sunday morning.

The name of the man in the 17-foot recreational boat is not being released, and there is no imagery at this time.

The master of the involved cargo vessel, Esta Desgagnes, a Canadian-flagged vessel home-ported in Quebec, immediately hailed the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 to report the collision and that the operator of the recreational vessel was in the water.

A rescue crew from Coast Guard Station St. Clair Shores launched a response boat and found the operator of the recreational boat clinging to a buoy. He was uninjured, but his boat was damaged and sank just outside the channel.

U.S. Coast Guard investigators are currently investigating the cause of the collision.

The Coast Guard reminds the boating public to stay well clear of cargo vessels on the Great Lakes and river systems. These large vessels are typically restricted in their maneuverability due to their deep drafts and can only operate in marked navigational channels. Recreational boaters should be fully aware of their own vessel’s capabilities and limitations, as well as the depth of water where they intend to transit.

“We were relieved to be able to recover the small boat operator unharmed,” said Lt. Ben Chamberlain, a command duty officer for Coast Guard Sector Detroit. “It is our hope that recreational boaters will maintain situational awareness to avoid these kinds of scenarios when enjoying the beauty of the Great Lakes. We also continue to implore boaters to wear their life jackets. No one plans for these kinds of emergencies to happen to them, but when they do occur, wearing a life jacket can be the difference between life and death.”

By Professional Mariner Staff