On August 11, 2016 at 7:00 p.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department dispatch center received a 911 call regarding a boat which had become stuck on a sand bar in Hebgen Lake near Madison Arm Campground. The boat was occupied by six adults on a family vacation. The boaters were from Utah, California, and Arizona and ranged in age from 25 to 70. They were unable to get their boat free of the sand bar and were too far from shore to safely get back to dry land.
Personnel from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Forest Service Law Enforcement responded using the Sheriff’s patrol/rescue boat. Rescue personnel had a difficult time getting to the boaters due to the shallow water they were in. Once the boaters were reached, an effort was made to dislodge the boat but was unsuccessful. After careful maneuvering, the six individuals were loaded onto the rescue boat and transported safely to shore.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like remind visitors to our area to learn the terrain in which they are recreating prior to entering that area. The Forest Service office is always happy to provide area maps and discuss terrain with all who stop in. A boat traveling at a relatively high speed that hits a sand bar unexpectedly has the potential to cause serious injuries to the occupants. Please enjoy all of the wonderful areas in our county, including our lakes and rivers; but be safe and carry all the necessary gear you may need in case of an emergency.