By Karen Cornelius
The Vermilion Marine Patrol’s primary function is to ensure the safety of everyone in the waterways in and around Vermilion. This is accomplished through search and rescue operations, assisting boaters, vessel safety inspections, and law enforcement. The police patrol unit was called on to do just that over the Labor Day shift by helping an owner with a sinking boat, and rescuing two teenagers in their kayaks who could not battle the wind and lake waves.
According to Vermilion Police Department Sergeant Gordon Adams who is in charge of patrol boat operations, around 11 a.m. the VPD boat was on patrol in the Vermilion Lagoons area and observed a docked boat that was in the process of sinking. Marine patrol officers and road patrol officers notified the boat owner and utilized an emergency water pump carried on board the police patrol boat to pump out the water from the sinking vessel. After 20 minutes of pumping water, the sinking boat was able to be towed to a local marina for repair.
Sergeant Adams then stated in his report that at approximately 3 p.m. the VPD boat was on patrol out on Lake Erie, north of the Vermilion River. Officers observed two kayaks approximately one-half mile out from shore. The kayakers appeared to be in distress. Officers found that the two kayakers were 13-year-old girls who had gone out for a short trip and were pulled out from shore by the strong winds and choppy water. The girls did not have the strength to paddle against the winds and waves to get back to shore. To make matters worse, neither of the girls had a life vest. The girls and kayaks were rescued and taken aboard the police boat to be transported back to the police dock. Adams said the parents were then called and picked up the girls. All of those involved were educated on the obvious dangers that were present.
Additionally, the marine patrol unit conducted one search and rescue operation, towed one log from the mouth of the river that was a safety hazard, conducted six vessel safety inspections, and issued 18 verbal warnings for different violations. No citations were issued during the Labor Day shift.