Safety precautions and smart thinking might have saved an Ohio fisherman’s life when his boat capsized this weekend during a storm on Lake Erie, stranding the man in the chilly water for 14 hours.
The fisherman, who launched out of Bolles Harbor in Monroe Township, Mich., on Saturday, was found sitting on top of his overturned boat Sunday morning in Ohio waters after drifting all night, according to the Monroe (Mich.) News.
The man, an unidentified 63-year-old Brownstown Township resident, was plucked from his capsized 16-foot aluminum boat about 7:30 a.m., south of West Sister Island.
Petty Officer Michael Martin of the Toledo Coast Guard, which rescued the man, told the Monroe News that the man did the right thing by wearing a flotation device and by staying with the boat instead of trying to swim for it. He also said the Coast Guard responded to three other vessels that capsized in Ohio waters during Saturday’s storm.
“It caught a lot of people by surprise,” he said.
The fisherman was somewhere in Lake Erie Saturday night when a storm swept through the area. The man tried to get back, but his boat at one point went sideways against the waves and his vessel was swamped.
“He said it was the most beautiful sunrise he’d ever seen,” Martin told the Monroe News. “He seemed fine. He was coherent and there was no apparent medical condition. He was just awfully cold.”
Martin said the man was able to cling to the boat until the weather cleared. He then lifted himself onto the hull and waited, using a cooler to protect himself against the cold and wind.