You've been sailing for years and planning this next trip for months. You've created the perfect sail plan, stocked the galley, the weather is shaping up perfectly and the boat has been checked and rechecked. She’s ready. You’re ready. You cast off the lines – outbound for wherever – confident that you have thought of [...]
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard rescued two teenage boys Sunday after the teens' 16-foot Jon boat became disabled and started taking on water in Currituck Sound, N.C., near aids to navigation marker 99. Currituck County 911 dispatch initially contacted Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center watchstanders at approximately 8 a.m., requesting a [...]
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The crew at USCG Station Cape Disappoint work in a place where heavy seas and surf aren't just possible, they are damned likely. The station's back yard is the Columbia Bar - one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world. What does the station like to do when the roughest of the [...]
This is a post where I feel compelled to put the disclaimer right up front: The views and opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of the Department of Homeland Security or the United States Coast Guard. (There - now that we've got that out of the way....) Alright gang, I've officially had [...]
My friend, Sara Faulkner, is one of only four women currently serving as helicopter rescue swimmers in the U.S. Coast Guard. Here she is being interviewed after a rescue she was involved in late last year. Video 1 Video 2
If you’re out on the water and things go badly -fire, taking on water, man overboard, etc – you really need to work the problem. Seconds may count but you also need to get on the radio and make a call. If things go bad, really bad, you have to call “Mayday” – wait for a response – pass all sorts of information about your position and how many people are on board and what your problem is, etc., but while your doing that you still have this problem to handle. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just push a button and send out the information about your vessel and what your problem is – to everyone – and get back to trying to save your boat (and your life)? What you you pay for a button like that? If there was just some system – like the alarm system in your house – where you could automatically call for help and the people you need would instantly know everything about your boat, where it is, what your emergency is, and then send help whether you can talk or not; wouldn’t that be something worth paying for? […]
The best place for boaters to be when heavy weather strikes is back at the marina – but weather changes can happen fast, the unexpected can extend your voyage, and in the middle of your first bad patch of sea is not the time or place to learn how to handle things in rough water.
There is simply no way to imagine that the Sunderland's decision to allow their sixteen-year-old daughter (and seventeen-year-old son before her) to venture out to sea alone was not influenced by the modern EPIRB. She was carrying two of them aboard. "Radio's - check; SATCOM - check; Way to pinpoint your location and call for help if things go wrong? - check and check." The electronic "Time-Out" button provides a LOT of comfort to all of us who go to sea and I'm certainly not complaining; again, I love the things. However, mariners need to address the growing and unspoken trend to rely on these devices as a replacement for an abundance of caution and judgment.