Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard had to scramble one of their Dolphin helicopters when someone spotted an empty yellow duck "floatie" in Lake Michigan near the Michigan/Indiana border. This wasn't one of the little bath tub yellow duckies, this was big enough for an adult to be traveling in. According to, it appears nobody was lost at sea after falling off their duckie. The bad news - the Coast Guard spent a ton to check it out.

According to a 2014 article about these searches, it cost (back in 2014) about $8500 an hour to operate an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, a helicopter that costs about $9 million brand new. With inflation, these days that operating cost number is probably close to $10,000. That's why the Coast Guard requests that you label your duckie (or whatever your current "drinking beer on the lake" floatie is. And, when you fall off said floatie and it drifts out of sight on Lake Michigan - alert the authorities (have somebody sober do it), so the Coast Guard doesn't have to fire up that Dolphin.

Thanks - here's the story, with a yellow duckie getting a $10,000 helicopter ride.


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