MUNISING, Mich. (WJMN) – On June 11, 2019, a family of four was canoeing along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore when their canoe was overtaken by high winds and waves.
The two adults and the two young children swam 150 yards in the 47-degree waters of Lake Superior, to an isolated pile of sharp boulders near Painted Coves.
To their luck, the crew of the Pictured Rocks Cruise ship spotted the distressed family. Deckhand Alex Hill and another samaritan disembarked the vessel and reached the family. The children were hypothermic, fatigued, and in desperate need of medical attention. Hill carried one of the children in his arms as he helped lead the family to safety.
“Us as a company, this is our due diligence to monitor that lakeshore we are always on. I think anyone else would’ve helped that family and I was just doing what I was supposed to do,” said Hill.
Dave Sliter has been the captain of Pictured Rocks Cruises for 35 years. He was also recognized for helping many people over the years who have been trapped out on Lake Superior.
“Kind of like a father figure, I feel like I need to keep track of everybody out there. And it’s the way of people who spend time on the lake, that feel like we have each other’s backs. You know, if something goes wrong out there someone will come and try to help out the best they can. That’s just part of the culture. Everybody has each other’s backs out there,” said Sliter.
Sector Commander Anthony Jones of the Sault Ste. Marie Coast Guard said recognizing these two men was important.
“We can’t be everywhere all the time, can’t always see people in distress. So to have folks out there, that are watching, and can help us out is a tremendous asset for the Coast Guard,” said Jones.