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MarkMiner 09-12-2007 10:54 PM

Solo sailor rescued after falling overboard in Lake Superior
I can't believe this woman lived. I was in this water last week and couldn't stand more than 5 minutes before it was intolerably cold. She is very lucky.

Joesaila 09-13-2007 06:38 AM

Me too...this 'happens' frequently. Just tell us what happened.

MarkMiner 09-13-2007 07:14 AM

Sorry, that's annoying. That didn't happen when I found the article. Anyway, she supposedly fell off her boat while singlehanding and survived in the water for over an hour. She was found after someone came upon her abandoned boat which had beached itself and started looking for her. She was also not wearing a life jacket. I will see if I can find a more direct link which doesn't ask for an email, or maybe I will just copy the whole article into a post.

MarkMiner 09-13-2007 07:19 AM

Julie Rosen of Duluth is what you could call an extremely lucky woman.

While sailing solo Sunday in Lake Superior, the 52-year-old fell from her boat and was rescued after spending more than an hour adrift in Lake Superior without a life vest.

Authorities received a 911 call reporting a sailboat beached on Park Point at

Julie Rosen, 52, of Duluth is loaded into an ambulance Sunday evening at the U.S. Coast Guard Station on Park Point. She was rescued after spending more than an hour in Lake Superior after she fell off a sailboat. She suffered from hypothermia. Authorities estimate the water temperature at the time was about 63 degrees. [AMANDA ODESKI / NEWS TRIBUNE]
Peter Passi Archive
4:50 p.m. Sunday.

Mark Howard, a commercial fisherman, was just returning from his nets on the lake when he noticed the beached boat and attempted to make contact with it. He got within about 20 feet of it and could see no one aboard. He tried to make radio contact, but there was no answer.

Responding authorities found Rosen’s boat empty and aground about 200 feet offshore near the Aerial Lift Bridge with its engine still running.

U.S. Coast Guard Boatswain’s Mate Second Class Stephen Braun said the vessel’s engine was engaged in a forward position. He said several empty beer bottles also were found aboard, but it’s unclear whether alcohol was a factor in the accident.

Emergency recovery efforts began immediately, with boats from the Coast Guard, the St. Louis County Rescue Squad and the Duluth Fire Department all engaged in the search for Rosen.

Assistant Fire Chief Richard Mattson said the agencies also received

assistance from other boats in the area.

“It was probably the best example of teamwork between organizations you’ll ever see,” Mattson said.

At 6:10 p.m., Eric Kilpo of St. Louis County Rescue Squad said he heard Rosen shouting for help and spotted her floating on her back more than 100 yards away from his rescue vessel. With the help of fellow rescue squad members Brian Johnson and Lt. Jon Koop, Kilpo fished Rosen from the water, wrapped her in blankets and rushed her to the U.S. Coast Guard Station on Park Point.

“She was conscious and coherent but very blue,” Braun said. “She was definitely hypothermic.”

Rosen was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center for medical treatment.

She was recovered about a half-mile from where her boat was found.

Braun likened finding a single person afloat in Lake Superior to trying to locate a needle in a haystack.

It’s unclear exactly when or how Rosen went overboard, but she spent at least 1 hour and 15 minutes treading water.

Braun said the surface water temperature of the lake was between 63 and 64 degrees.

Mattson said the abandoned sailboat’s jib and mainsail had been lowered but were not properly lashed. He speculated that Rosen may have been thrown from the vessel as she was working to secure the sails.

Winds were blowing out of the northeast at about 12 mph Sunday evening, according to the National Weather Service. The air temperature at 6 p.m. was 59 degrees at Sky Harbor Airport on Park Point.

Mattson said members of his Rescue I team freed the 30-foot sailboat using a 12-foot Zodiac boat. They fastened a line to the mast of the beached vessel, then tipped the boat on its side to reduce its draft. A 38-foot Carver was then able to pull the sailboat into deeper water. Mattson said the vessel appeared to be undamaged and was towed back to its regular mooring at the Lakehead Boat Basin on Park Point.

Braun said he hopes recreational boaters will take some lessons away from Sunday’s incident: “When you’re out on your own, always make sure to share your plans with someone else, and always wear your PFD [personal flotation device]. It doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have it on.”

punjabi 09-13-2007 12:14 PM

I use the Firefox browser and I've installed a plug-in called "Bug-Me-Not" and whenever I get to a page that wants a username and password for things like newspapers, it takes care of it for me. It works about 70% of the time. Pretty cool.

JomsViking 09-13-2007 12:57 PM

I once fell in the water during winter - the water must have been around 0 degrees celcius (32 degrees fahrenheit) or less, as the water froze that same week. I kid you not, it took only seconds before I felt that all strength had left my body - very different from controlled training situations, where you know someone is there to pick you up. However I'd say that 63 degrees fahrenheit (17 degrees celcius) is a different story if you can maintain the heat exposure lessening position (HELP). She couldn't as she wasn't wearing a PFD - glad she survived!
BTW. The temperature of the sea around here is around 10 degrees Celcius right now, probably less offshore.

sailingdog 09-13-2007 01:00 PM

One of the biggest killers when someone falls into cold water, and 63˚F is relatively cold, is sudden cardiac arrest. It is also amazing at how little strength you have from being in cold water for any period of time.

CBinRI 09-13-2007 01:03 PM

Talk about fortunate. Not even any damage to her boat. Good for her. Don't know if she drank those beers, but probably not a great idea when singlehanding.

sailingdog 09-13-2007 01:07 PM

drinking while single handing is a good way to win a Darwin award IMHO. Drinking while boating is a common cause of a lot of the accidents and a majority of the boating related fatalities.

TrueBlue 09-13-2007 01:14 PM

I have found that by floating on your back, and taking slow, shallow breaths, with the lungs always partially inflated, less effort is used by the arms and legs to maintain bouyancy. It appears that is how she survived for so long.

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