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Three kayakers rescued near Grand Portage

Three kayakers on Lake Superior were rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard crew Sunday afternoon, after using a marine radio to report they had been overwhelmed by strong winds.

According to the Coast Guard, a boat crew stationed in Grand Marais was dispatched at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday after Coast Guard monitors heard the mayday broadcast.

The kayakers – two men and a woman – were apparently on their way from Grand Portage to an island just off shore. Northwest winds at the time were blowing up to 25-mph, and the Coast Guard reported five foot high waves in the area.

Unable to maintain good communications with the kayakers, the regional Coast Guard headquarters contacted the Grand Portage Marina Harbormaster to assist by relaying communications between the kayakers and Sector Sault Ste. Marie radio crews.

The Grand Marais station crew trailered their 25-foot boat to Grand Portage to cut response time and launched into Lake Superior from there. The Coast Guard boat found the kayakers at about 5 p.m., brought them on board, and towed their kayaks back to the Grand Portage marina

 All three kayakers were wearing their life jackets and reported no serious injuries. 

“The importance of having a reliable means of communication can’t be stressed enough,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Alex Hill, one of the Coast Guard’s crew stationed at Grand Marais. “By taking along a handheld marine radio with GPS capabilities, these boaters helped us to help them.”