OCTOBER 2020 MAGAZINE – Sylvia Caproni – COAST GUARD RESCUES IN THE SPOTLIGHT
“The Tide Is High…..”
LONGVIEW, WA – On October 3, 2020 the USCG rescued a family of four (including the dog) from a jetty on the southwestern Washington coastline. The family had walked to the end of the jetty, along Willapa Bay, and were stranded as the tide came in. A MH-60 Jayhawk diverted from a training mission to a real life one, and saved the day.
(Author’s Note: Growing up in Bar Harbor, Maine, we had a number of vehicles stranded on “The Bar” between the main island and Bar Island every year by tourists who either forgot or were not aware that you have this thing called a tide…. Salt water and engines do NOT mix.)
While we try to ensure that all the rescue stories we are printing are current, we could not resist resurrecting this one….
“John Travolta Has Nothing On This Guy….”
FORT MYERS, FL – On April 24, 2016 the USCG somewhat famously plucked an ultra-marathoner named Reza Baluchi out of the water. Baluchi was trying to run in a huge bubble (think hamster wheel) from Florida to Bermuda. Baluchi had been warned by the Coast Guard about doing this, and in fact was in defiance of a direct order to NOT do this. To add insult to injury, in 2014 the Coast Guard had picked Baluchi up when he was disoriented off the coast of Miami in his bubble/hamster recreational device. He was then asking directions to Bermuda. The 2014 rescue required an HC-130 airplane, a MH-60 Jayhawk, and the USCG vessel Maersk Montana. This shenanigan cost the US taxpayers approximately $144,000. In the 2016 escapade, Baluchi intended to be at sea for five months, raising money for charity. While he had a support vessel along for the ride, the Coast Guard handled this disobedience with its usual aplomb. It is unclear how much the 2016 rescue cost the US taxpayers, but this author is certain it wasn’t free. Perhaps as a way to offset the cost of the rescue, the USCG could have sold tickets to people. Who WOULDN’T want to watch the expression on this guy’s face as he is latched onto and towed along in his bubble?
“If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail…. Or, Why Floatplans Are Awesome”
PANAMA CITY, FL – A 72 year old gentleman named Terry Taylor of Lynn Haven, Florida, was rescued by the USCG from his disabled vessel approximately 5 miles offshore in St. Andrew Bay at about 1 am on the morning of October 3, 2020. Taylor had no reported injuries. A MH-65 Dolphin spotted the vessel, and an RB-M 45 safely towed the vessel (and the sole occupant) back to shore. Proving that a layered safety strategy works, it bears noting that Taylor’s VHF radio malfunctioned. However, his spouse became concerned when he was late coming in, and was able to provide rescue workers with important information on his normal route and his vessel’s description. In this case, a) making a float plan and b) making others aware of your float plan likely saved this man’s life.
Written by: PO2 Sylvia Caproni