In undoubtedly one of their more unusual missions, members of the U.S. Coast Guard patrolling Lake Erie’s Fairport Harbor in northern Ohio rescued an 84-year-old man who accidentally drove his riding lawnmower off a landing and into the Grand River last week.

After sinking in several feet of water, the man was apparently too weak or too distressed to pull himself to safety.

The good-samaritan vessel, Megabite, piloted by Lake Erie fishing charter captain Don Woodruff, notified the Coast Guard via marine band radio of an elderly man standing beside a partially submerged lawn tractor.

Rushing to the scene, Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Richard Cheney and Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Mark Torres disembarked their 25-foot small response boat (RB-S) and successfully pulled the man safely on to the pier.

“He was a little shaken up,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Adam Lutz. “Apparently, his foot slipped off the clutch when he was cutting the grass.”

The Coast Guard encourages boaters to invest in a VHF-FM radio as their primary means of distress alerting on the water. Communication via VHF-FM radio provides superior alerting capabilities over cellular phones.

Oh yeah, an anchor for that lawnmower might be a smart investment as well.