Escanaba deputies reflect on heroic July 4th incident and talk boat safety

On July 4th, Escanaba resident Alan Couillard was awarded a challenge coin after heroically helping out 3 people whose boat filled with water and flipped.

Today, Marta Berglund spoke with Marine Deputies Adam Flagstad and Jonathan Smith on what the event meant to the Escanaba community and about boat safety in general.

Smith said the event was “a good display of our community and how people are looking to help one another.” Flagstadt added, “I can think of a few times where there was a citizen that stepped in to help one of our deputies.”

While Couillard’s act was undoubtedly heroic, the deputies added that boat safety is a necessity, especially having life vests on board and wearing them when travelling from place to place.

“We just encourage people to be wearing their life jackets when they’re out on the water,” said Smith. “In this instance, the life jackets were on board, and were used, but they weren’t being worn at the time of the incident.”

Smith added that there was recently a similar incident, where a boat filled with water and flipped.

According to passengers, there was only 6 seconds between noticing water in the boat, and passengers being in the water.

Smith concluded by saying, in an emergency, sometimes there isn’t time to grab a life vest.

For more information on boat safety, visit DNR – Boating (