Don't try to Jet Ski across Lake Superior

Don't do it.

Don't do it. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Just don't. 

It's a very bad idea, as one 42-year-old man from Alexandria, Virginia, discovered on July 7.

His plan was simple: Mount the Kawasaki Jet Ski his buddy had loaned him and dart from Grand Portage to Isle Royale National Park -- a 23-mile journey across 50-degree, 700-foot-deep waters.

His execution went poorly. 

After getting lost in a bank of fog, the man became stranded smack-dab in the middle of Lake Superior with "only a fume of gas left" in his personal watercraft, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. Here's roughly where he ended up, per the Duluth News Tribune


Miraculously, the man still had cell service and was able to phone his buddy in Florida, the same one who owned the Jet Ski, the News Tribune reports. At around 8:20 p.m., his pal contacted the Grand Marais Sheriff’s Office, who then sent alerts to the Coast Guard, who then notified the Michigan State Police, since Isle Royale is located in Michigan water. 

As the authorities worked in concert on the rescue, with the Coast Guard even deploying a helicopter, the man began texting his friend, hoping to establish his GPS coordinates. At around 10 p.m., the stranded man contacted the the Cook County Sheriff’s Office by phone. He emailed an image of his compass to the Sheriff’s Office, who notified him that a Canadian ship, the Michipicoten, plus a Coast Guard boat and chopper, were all in his general area.

By 11:43 p.m., the man and his loaner Jet Ski were safely aboard the Michipicoten. The freighter dropped him off at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, the next morning. Weather conditions were calm that night, Michipicoten Capt. Jonathan Barnes says via a press release from ship owner Rand Logistics Inc., adding that the man was discovered in good health.

Had the man's journey gone as planned, and it absolutely did not, there was still one major issue, the News Tribune points out: The National Park Service bans personal watercraft at Isle Royale, which is about 20 miles north of where he was eventually rescued.

The big takeaway: Boating on Superior ain't a joke.

"The international seaport and inland sea requires a mastery of small boat seamanship, a thorough knowledge of piloting rules and equipment regulations, a sharp eye for the weather, and the lifelong habit of safe boating practices," the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources warns.

Of course, you can always take the ferry from Grand Portage to Isle Royale.