Shipwrecked sailor remains stuck in Lake Michigan

August 2, 2023

– Oceana County Sheriff’s Office photo
This photo was taken when the boat first became stuck July 23.

UPDATE: The boat was finally freed and towed to Pentwater Wednesday, Aug. 2.

Shipwrecked sailor remains stuck in Lake Michigan

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor

BENONA TOWNSHIP — It’s like Deja Vu for English sailor Jonathan Baxter, 71, whose 33-feet-long sailboat— aptly named Deja Vu — has been stuck in Lake Michigan near Stony Lake for a week and a half.

According to updates on the Facebook page, Silver Lake Sand Dunes, the boat was finally freed Tuesday evening, Aug. 1, only to get stuck again the next day.

“I just talked to Jonathan and he tried to pull anchor and raise sails,” wrote Donald Muckel Wednesday. “He started in the right direction and the waves and the current pushed (the boat) back to the sandbar. He is again stuck at the sandbar.” 

– Contributed photo
Shelby High School athletes try to free the stuck boat.

Muckel had reported on the social media page Tuesday night, Aug. 1, that Baxter’s boat was freed. “By the grace of God, J.T. Baxter is finally free to continue his travels around the world. Tonight around 5 p.m., with the help of a lot of people … his boat finally broke loose and is now anchored about a ¼ mile out from where he was.”

Many local people have jumped in to help the shipwrecked sailor by trying the get the boat unstuck and also providing Baxter with food, laundry and friendship. Wrestlers and football players from Shelby High School used their muscles to try to free the boat last week.

“The US Coast Guard is aware of the situation,” said Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast Wednesday. Since it is not a life-threatening situation, they’re “leaving it to his personal remedies. But there is a property risk.”

The sheriff said that Baxter should hire a tow boat, which would cost thousands of dollars. “The gentleman needs to come up

– Contributed photo
Shelby High School athletes try to free the stuck boat.

with a funding source.”

An excavator from Hallack Contracting in Hart reported to the scene and attempted to assist, but to no avail, said Mast.

“We are not going to hook our boat and risk damage,” said the sheriff. “We will help him and make sure he’s in good health with food, water and other necessities.”

Deputy Tim Simon, who is head of the sheriff’s office marine division, has checked on the marooned boater a couple times, and road deputies have also stopped to check on him.

“We’re staying well apprised of the situation.”

Please consider helping to fund local news. Mason County Press and Oceana County Press are available for free thanks to the generous support of our advertisers and individuals. Three ways to help us: Venmo: @MasonCountyPress; Paypal: MasonCountyPress@gmail.com; Mail a check to PO BOX 21, Scottville, MI 49454.

– Contributed photo
Shelby High School athletes try to free the stuck boat.

This story is copyrighted © 2023, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

As the services of Media Group 31, LLC are news services, the information posted within the sites are archivable for public record and historical posterity. For this reason it is the policy and practice of this company to not delete postings. It is the editor’s discretion to update or edit a story when/if new information becomes available. This may be done by editing the posted story or posting a new “follow-up” story. Media Group 31, LLC or any of its agents have the right to make any changes to this policy. Refer to Use Policy for more information.

 

Eats

Eats