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Oh buoy! Coast Guard finally collects missing navigation marker

'No response from the Coast Guard so then we decided to drag it to the road and put a sign up hoping it would get some action'
20220707 Rick Gushulak coast guard buoy
Premier Road resident Rick Gushulak beside the navigation buoy that washed up on a neighbourhood beach.

The Coast Guard has finally reclaimed a massive navigational buoy that broke loose in Lake Nipissing and was retrieved by a pair of Premier Road residents.

Rick Gushulak and Greg Ducharme thought they had done their duty by fishing the beacon from the beach, but their adventure had just begun. Getting the Coast Guard to come and get it was another matter.

The two started calling numerous numbers trying to find someone who would take responsibility. Finally, they talked to someone who said it was not his responsibility but would find someone who would call them back.

They waited. And waited. And waited some more.

Nine days later the call came. By then the two had dragged the buoy, which Ducharme estimates weighs about 400 lbs, to a public access road just down from their homes.

"We got confirmation that it broke free in Hunter's Bay." (south of Callander) said Ducharme. A boating friend had noticed it missing.

"So it floated from Hunter's Bay, about 10 miles away, and starting crashing into my concrete breakwater. I was worried it was going to damage the wall, so my neighbour and I pulled it out and it sat in my backyard for a couple of days.

Still no response from the Coast Guard.

"So then we decided to drag it to the road and put a sign up hoping it would get some action. It was because of the slow reaction of the Coast Guard. One wonders given the importance of the buoy, why it was missing in action all that time. It has electronics at the top and a transmitter. It's at least 10 feet long, weighs 400 lbs and floated all the way across the lake and the Coast Guard takes its time coming to get it. "

They did eventually show up in a truck to haul it away, but Ducharme is disappointed.

"They were very non-responsive. We kept calling different places. We got a receptionist and asked if she would take the information and pass it on to the right people but the response was, 'No, no it's not my job' and I got put through to this number that was totally irrelevant like a fish hatchery. This is big. Boats could be crashing on a rock. It was pretty funny for a while," he laughed.

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Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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