New marine search and rescue program partnership coming to the North Shore

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A new partnership has started between The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office for a new marine search and rescue program.

The idea for the partnership sparked after the death of two teenagers that were cliff jumping into Lake Superior.

The program aims to reduce the risk of loss and death in the North Shore’s tourist heavy waters including Grand Portage, Grand Marais, Tofte, and Schroeder.

The Grand Portage Band secured funding for two search and rescue boats, staffing, and training through a bill signed into law during  the 2023 Minnesota Legislative Session. The legislation was chief authored by Senator Grant Hauschild of Hermantown and Representative Heather Keeler of Moorhead. It is expected to be fully operational in the next month.

The need for search and rescue operations also increased after the Auxiliary U.S. Coast Guard Station in Grand Marais ceased operations in 2022. Since then on-water rescue responsibilities have been left to the Band and Sheriff’s Office.