The Bow Ramp

Monday, May 15, 2006

Not Quite as Rough as This

Above, you see the Motor Lifeboat Victory on a typical balmy Winter day. The Victory is one of four 52 foot MLBs in the Coast Guard and is stationed in Yaquina Bay (Newport), Oregon. This is what you have to face most of the year when "crossing the bar" just about anywhere in Oregon and Washington.

Last Saturday, I was on patrol with my Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla. It was the opening weekend of Halibut season and things were crazy out there. Seas were much calmer than in the photo above, but still enough to knock us around some. We got called out for one tow, about 11 miles out. That took pretty much the whole day to go out, pick up the tow and return, then conduct a vessel safety check on the boat that broke down. Our guys were OK except for the engine conking out. Some other guy out there wasn't as lucky. He fell overboard and wasn't wearing a life jacket. The #68 boat and a helecopter got to him within about 15 minutes, but it was too late. Water temp out there is about 51-52 degrees right now. Not something you want to fall into without an exposure suit.