Coast Guard First District’s 11 Memorable Rescues of 2011
January 5, 2012
The following “Memorable Search & Rescue Missions” of 2011 (and accompanying descriptions) were selected by the U.S. Coast Guard’s First District.
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the First District oversees all Coast Guard missions across 8 states in the northeastern United States. The area of responsibility includes more than 8,000 miles of tidal shoreline from the U.S.-Canadian border to northern New Jersey. Charged with performing the many Coast Guard missions in this area are 12,000 active-duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary personnel, 30 cutters, 200 boats and 8 aircraft.
The rescues detailed below offer stark reminders of the need for the maritime community as a whole to stay vigilant and work closely with the Coast Guard as crews across the Northeast keep the region safe.
1: Alert ears
While on patrol in the vicinity of Long Island Sound, New York, July 14, an Air Station Cape Cod HU-25 Falcon jet received a distress call over VHF Channel 16. The source reported their vessel, with 5 persons aboard, was taking on water 5 miles south of New Haven Harbor. Sector Long Island Sound advised Station New Haven, which launched a small boat to assist. The Coast Guard boat crew arrived on scene in time to rescue all 5 passengers just as the vessel sank. After the passengers were delivered safely to a shoreside safe haven, the Station New Haven crew turned around to assist a commercial salvage vessel that had become disabled during the event.
Original Press Release: Coast Guard Rescues 5 From Sinking Vessel in Long Island Sound
2: An unexpected stop
Coast Guard Station South Portland received a distress call on July 31 from a 2-masted sightseeing schooner that ran aground in Casco Bay, Maine, near Great Diamond Island. A 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from the station worked with the Portland Fire Department to rescue 49 passengers from the schooner, which was grinding into the rocks. The Coast Guard later ensured the vessel was salvaged, did not cause harm to the environment, and did not hinder commerce.
Original Press Release: Coast Guard helps evacuate 49 passengers from grounded schooner in Casco Bay, Maine
3: A grandfather holds on
The Coast Guard rescued a 77-year-old man after his grandson called to report that his grandfather had fallen overboard from his sailing vessel approximately 4 miles south of Centerville Beach, Massachusetts, on August 17. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England, in Woods Hole coordinated with an Air Station Cape Cod MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and a Coast Guard Station Wood’s Hole 41′ Utility Boat crew. The Jayhawk crew located the man and deployed a rescue swimmer, who safely recovered him from the water at 3:16 p.m. The man was wearing his lifejacket and clinging to a flotation device his grandson had thrown to him.
4: Fortune from disaster
The Rye Fire Department contacted Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor to report 3 men had called 911 after a wave came over the stern of their boat, capsizing the vessel and knocking the men into the water about a mile off the coast of Rye, New Hampshire on June 24.
A Station Portsmouth Harbor 25′ boat crew responded, rescued the trio, and brought them back to the station where they were met by New Castle EMS.
“These men are really lucky,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class John Matthews, the officer of the day at Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor. “The water is only 57 degrees and they weren’t wearing life jackets. In that cold of water it doesn’t take long for hypothermia to set in.”
Original Press Release: U.S. Coast Guard rescues 3 from cold water
5: Coordination is key
A sailboat crew hailed for help 780 miles northeast of Cape Cod on July 29. Their sail was broken, the engine was disabled, and the boat was taking on water. The tightknit maritime community of AMVER system proved its value once again. The 899′ motor vessel Kim Jacob, transiting to Port Tupper, Nova Scotia, plucked the mariners from the rough water.
“The AMVER program is invaluable to us in extending our search and rescue capabilities outside the normal operating area of our Coast Guard resources,” said Rick Arsenault, from the Coast Guard First District command center. “This volunteer program provides a surface picture of readily available vessels who volunteer their services to search and rescue coordinators during cases.”
Original Press Release: AMVER ship assists sailors 780 miles northeast of Cape Cod
6: Swept to sea, pulled to safety
During the rough post-Irene weather, the waves swept a woman and man from a rock wall near Narragansett Beach, Rhode Island, on August 29. The man struggled to the beach, but the woman was unable to make it in. Local police threw her a flotation device, and a helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod was launched. The crew arrived on scene within minutes of the initial report and a rescue swimmer hoisted the woman from the water.
“Being thrown a lifejacket greatly increased her chances of survival,” said Chief Petty Officer Justin Urbano, Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England situation watch chief.
Original Press Release: Coast Guard rescues woman swept from rocks
7: A life saved, though not at sea
A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew was shocked to see fire and smoke erupting from a forest near Provincetown, Massachusetts, on September 1. They were on a routine patrol when a small plane carrying 2 passengers crashed. The crew diverted immediately, landed near the crash site and and sprinted to the scene. They were able to rescue the one survivor and ensure her safe delivery to a hospital.
Original Press Release: Coast Guard rescue crew hoists airplane crash victim
8: The lifejacket earns keeps its name
Two boaters were separated from their vessel while swimming off Crab Meadow Beach on the northern side of Long Island, New York, on August 21. The Coast Guard conducted a search for the 2 swimmers and found them clinging to a shared lifejacket. The rescue crew not only saved the boaters, but their vessel as well.
Original Press Release: Coast Guard rescues two people from the water
9: Overdue ends well
The U.S. Coast Guard and Ipswich, Massachusetts, fire and police department crews worked together to rescue a 38-year-old man in Ipswich Bay about 1 mile northeast of the Annisquam River after he was reported overdue from his fishing trip on October 3. Approximately 30 minutes into the search, the Station Gloucester boatcrew located and rescued the man from the 62-degree water. He was alive and responsive, but his boat was never found.
Related article: Coast Guard, Ipswich authorities rescue overdue fisherman
10: A team effort
The Coast Guard received a radio distress call from the operator of a 57′ pleasure craft that was taking on water near the Throgs Neck Bridge, New York, on May 3.
Coast Guard Sector New York search-and-rescue watchstanders contacted harbor units from the New York Police Department and the New York Fire Department who responded and were on scene shortly after the initial call and began to dewater the boat. Crewmembers from Towboat U.S. were also on scene shortly after the initial call and began to dewater the boat.
Coast Guard Station Kings Point, New York, launched a 25′ rescue boat crew, who transported the two individuals to City Island where they were transferred to awaiting emergency medical personnel.
Original Press Release: Injured boaters rescued from New York City’s East River
11: Rescue, rescue, rescue!
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Campbell performed 3 key rescues while patrolling the northern Atlantic Ocean this fall.
Crewmembers medically evacuated an injured fisherman who had lost 2 fingers and severely injured a third in an accident off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey, in December. Following the radio call for help from the fishing vessel Kennedy Hellen, the Campbell’s crew was on scene in less than an hour to administer first aid. A Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City helicopter crew safely transported the fisherman to Atlantic City Medical Center for treatment.
The Campbell’s crewmembers also towed 2 disabled fishing boats to safety when the boats became stranded off shore.
The first took the cutter crew about a day and a half to tow the vessel in 8′ seas from approximately 60 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Cape Cod Bay after the fishing boat’s engine broke down.
The second tow took the crew about 12 hours to complete after the fishing boat’s nets became entangled in the propeller approximately 50 miles south of Montauk, New York. The vessel was towed to Block Island, Rhode Island.
Original Press Release: Maine-based Coast Guard crew returns home from 55-day patrol in time for the holidays