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Supporting Volunteers in Action
Husband and wife taking boating safety class use their learning to save a life
A letter to instructors of a safe boating course:
John and Mary here from your boating safety course. Just wanted to relay a story from this weekend. John and I were out on the lake on our way back from Chicago and John was scanning the water while driving. Suddenly he thought he spotted something in the water (we were at least a mile off shore), so he turned the boat around to check. We discovered that it was a young couple in their early twenties on a PWC. She was driving and he had fallen off. She was sober, but he was very inebriated. He could not get back on the PWC. It was obvious that he was hypothermic, as his skin looked blue. He had an ill- fitting life jacket on INSIDE OUT! It was so loose that it was slipping over his head and he was going under the waves! John immediately directed me to throw the life ring, which we now keep on deck because of your class. We did have to throw it twice, thankfully we have a line tied to it (also because of your class). We were able to get him to grab onto the life ring and pull him to the boat. He was so hypothermic and exhausted from struggling in the water that he could not climb the ladder onto the swim platform. John had to literally drag him onto the boat using techniques learned in your course. We managed to get him warmed up and safely back to the beach! We just thanked our lucky stars that we were sober, in the right place at the right time, and that we knew what to do!!! This young man would not have lasted much longer and surely would have drown. After we got him to shore we both remarked again about how your safe boating class helped us save the life of this young man. Thank you again for all of the knowledge you and your fellow instructors shared with us. Because of this, we were able to save a life this weekend.
John and Mary
P.S. I learned to drive the boat this weekend, all the way from the marina and back. I’ve also learned how to operate the radio. 🙂
Skilled Auxiliary boat driver assists national organization create a public service video
Auxiliarist Jim Fogle of Flotilla 72, St. Petersburg, answered the call from the Eckerd College Waterfront Program to help locate an open power boat capable of holding 12 to 15 people to use in the production of a public service video to debut for National Safe Boating Week, May 17-23. He provided his own boat and served as captain.
Ryan Dilkey, who coordinates Eckerd College’s search and rescue team, contacted Fogle, hearing of his skills as a boater and longtime representative of the Auxiliary’s public affairs and partner visitation programs.
The television spot, “Live the Life,” shares the experience of two families and a dog as they spend the day boating and fishing. It was shot at St. Petersburg’s Eckerd College and distributed by the National Safe Boating Council throughout the U.S. and Canada for the 2014 North American Safe Boating Campaign, which is a yearlong effort focused on spreading the message of boating safety and the critical importance of consistent life jacket wear.
“You can still have fun on the water while choosing to always wear a life jacket and boating responsibly,” says Rachel Johnson, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council, the lead organization for the Wear It! campaign.
View the 30-second spot at http://www.youtube.com/user/OutreachNSBC
The training Auxiliarists receive and the community relationships they build provide tremendous safety outreach opportunities!
Richard Risk USCGAUX
Auxiliary “eyes and ears” on the water made a combat veteran’s day
One late summer Sunday, while on an on-water Maritime Observation Mission (MOM), after completing verification of the aids to navigation on the Waccamaw River and then working at moving a rather large tree that was a hazard to navigation on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), the Auxiliary patrol crew spotted a personal watercraft (PWC) with two passengers stranded in the water in the middle of the ICW.
They approached the PWC and inquired if they required assistance. The operator, Scott (surnames withheld), said that his engine had quit and he was unable to restart it. He declined assistance stating that he was just waiting for his wife and other daughter, on their other PWC, to return for them “as soon as she figured out that he was no longer behind her.” He had no means of communication aboard his PWC. The Auxiliarists told him that they would remain in the area and check back with him as soon as they were done moving the tree.
The Auxiliary patrol then returned to its task. They found that the tree had begun to move along the shore to the southwest, pushed along by the tidal current. Since it was now fairly close to the shore, the Auxiliarists decided to try to use a boat wake to propel it to shore with a couple of close-aboard high-speed passes. Seeing that the tree was indeed moving into the cypress trees, the Auxiliarists headed back to check on the disabled PWC.
The PWC and its two passengers were now up against the western shore, pushed there by the same tidal current that had pushed the tree. They were trying to disengage themselves from the branches of a tree. They were again asked by the Coast Guard Auxiliary crew if they would like assistance. This time they accepted. Scott said that his wife had tried to tow them but her engine had begun to overheat from the load, so she disengaged and began to head up the ICW looking for help. Scott was given a line and pulled away from the shore into a more favorable position to set up for a tow; he and his daughter Jordan were taken aboard the Auxiliary boat and their PWC was towed.
Speaking with Scott on their way to the public landing at Wacca Wache Marina, the Auxiliary crew learned that Scott was an Army veteran of Desert Storm, having served with the 82nd and 101st. Airborne. It made the Auxiliarists feel good to assist a combat veteran, especially the Coxswain who is a retired Navy veteran. Scott thanked the crew for its assistance and expressed his gratitude for the work the Coast Guard Auxiliary does for recreational boaters. He was also invited to visit the Flotilla at a monthly Flotilla meeting, and to have a vessel safety check on his PWC after it was repaired.
The multi-missioned boating safety skills of this Coast Guard Auxiliary crew resulted in a safer waterway and a happy, assisted boater.
Jack Margolis USCGAUX