Five teenaged kayakers are lucky to be alive after being rescued from the cold waters of Lake Michigan Sunday evening.
The group of 18 and 19-year-olds were on their way back from a weekend camping trip on South Manitou Island when they came across rough water and needed help.
A ship passing by saw the kayakers were in trouble and pulled three on board.
The teens from downstate Michigan and New York were wearing life jackets, but the sailors needed more help and called the Coast Guard.
It took about 20 minutes for the crew to spot the other two men.
â??It's very difficult to find them especially in (Sundayâ??s) conditions when you have four to five foot seas. If they are in the bottom of a swell when we happen to look at their specific point we may or may not be able to see them, and again the area is so large. It's very difficult to cover that much water,â?? said John Reid, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Junior Grade pilot.
Both kayakers were found in 55 degree water around 7 p.m. The Coast Guard believes one of the men was waiting in the water for nearly three hours. He was treated for hypothermia.
â??I'm sure his feet were numb; hands were numb. He was very cold. It was difficult. It was four and five foot seas and the wind was pushing pretty hard so it was a difficult swim,â?? said Tom Mcarthur, U.S. Coast Guard AST3 rescue swimmer.
While the teens didn't rent from Crystal River Outfitters in Glen Arbor, owners say Lake Michigan is still too cold. At this time they are not renting kayaks to anyone wanting to go on Lake Michigan.
â??The surface temperatures this year are far colder than past seasons and we take safety very seriously here at Crystal River outfitters and we will gladly put safety ahead of profits,â?? said Matt Wiesen, Crystal River Outfitters co-owner.
While none of the kayakers were taken to the hospital Sunday the Coast Guard wants to remind people to stay safe on the water.
For anyone wanting to head out on the water be sure to tell someone where you're going and invest in a personal locator beacon.