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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
3/4/2011

Coast Guard responding to report of disabled vessel 37 miles off Oregon Inlet

FORT MACON, N.C. — The Coast Guard is responding to a radio distress call received by Coast Guard Sector North Carolina watchstanders just before 5 p.m. Friday from a vessel disabled in rough seas 37 miles off Oregon Inlet.

A 47-foot motor life boat crew from Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet launched and is currently en route to rescue the three people onboard the 22-foot recreational vessel.

Conditions on scene include 5-foot seas and water temperatures below 50 degrees.
 

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Was out this Saturday out of Harteras, the weather changed fast with some waves over 10 feet, saw a 24' center console heading out with 3 on board 25 miles out having a hard time as I was heading back in at 9:00 am due to conditions. Some people just don't give a $hit about safety.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I sent the CG an email on this and here is the answer.

From:
"Weydert, David PA3" <[email protected]>
Add sender to Contacts
To:
[email protected]
The disabled vessel in question was part of Seatow, but Seatow declined to assist due to distance and weather. A Coast Guard 47-foot Motorlifeboat was launched and successfully towed the disabled vessel to Oregon Inlet.

Respectfully,

Petty Officer 3rd Class David A. Weydert
Public Affairs Specialist
5th District Public Affairs Office (de)
431 Crawford St.
Portsmouth, VA 23704

Phone: (757) 398-6626
 

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Hats off to the coast guard. I need to bring them some baked goods my next trip down.
 

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I have to say for the defense of Sea Tow, they have always done a great job for me locally in the Va Beach area but if the conditions were bad down there the Sea Tow Captn may have been using good judgement unlike the Captn in the 22' in distress. Locally the Sea Tow boats are no more then 30' so sending a 45' boat out sounds like a wise choice. Got to look at both sides. Martin
 

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Maybe Seatow should adjust the premiums to reflect the size of their recovery vehicle.. Conditions reported at the time were 5' seas. If Seatow can't handle that, they got no business charging people money for it.
 

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Hats off to the coast guard. I need to bring them some baked goods my next trip down.
LMAO!! Best part about TF is looking on here for c-note one liners to cure a good case of boredom. Especially the real late night c-note responses after the o'le boy has obviously had a few!
 

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Bill-lets go fishing next week I'm about to lose it on land. Weekday. Sun up to sunrise, trolling, jigging, sticking, kite, netting jumping mullet lets roll...call me.
 

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Glad they're ok. I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often.

Got caught in awful conditions.....once. Went out about 28 miles (around diamond shoals and then NE) in my 24-ft boat Supposed to be 2-4 ft and "diminishing" out of HI. We got out of the inlet and it was 2-4, then 4-5, then 5-6, and before I knew it we were in 8-10 ft seas. Couldn't come back easily because we would have been yawing too much trying to ride the waves back. Stayed in one spot for hours (filled up the boat with tiles and took some video footage of the big waves) and when it calmed down some, we gunned it back to shore.

That's the dumbest thing I've ever done in the boat. I was really counting on the "diminishing" phrase in the forecast. It's tough not to be optimistic when you tow your boat down 100-150 miles in the early am. It's painful when you finally get to the Outer Banks, stop at the gas station one last time, and see all the flags standing up in the wind.
 

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Reply from SEATOW info

Since I am a member of Seatow, and I fish out of OI, I sent them an Email requesting a statement from them of why they did not respond to the HELP needed in this situation. I have received a response back from them and with their permission, listed below is that reply. IMO, I accept their reply of why they did not respond.

Good afternoon Mr. House.

Risk management is the basic answer to your question. As I continue with my reply let me tell you that before taking on my current job with Sea Tow, I enjoyed a wonderful 32 year career with the Coast Guard and held positions as Group Search and Rescue (SAR) controller, Group Operations Officer, and finally retiring from CG Sector Northern New England as Chief of Response and SAR Mission Coordinator.

I discussed this case with the local Oregon Inlet Sea Tow franchise owner, Stuart Wescott. Captain Wescott has towed boats in from over 40 miles offshore. Sea Tow's primary mission is to provide service to boaters in nonemergency situations. The Coast Guard absolutely steps in or maintains the expectation of stepping into a situation whenever the sense of apprehension, emergency/urgency becomes greater in any given maritime case. When available, and given appropriate environmental conditions, Sea Tow captains have responded to many emergencies (and received awards as well) because they were in the right place, and could get to a case quicker than the Coast Guard or other agencies. In those cases, Sea Tow became part of the SAR system. In the maritime environment, the Coast Guard directs the SAR system. Sea Tow, the Coast Guard, and the SAR system are here to ensure mariners and boaters get home safely from their activities on the water.

As I understand, it seems the day this boater whom you are referring to went 37+ miles offshore in a 22' boat. The weather picked up quickly and the boater ran into trouble offshore, taking a wave over the bow, which also disabled his engine. In the mean time, seas continued to increase, and there was a developing bar condition at Oregon Inlet. With change of weather conditions, combined with the distance offshore, this case created a greater sense of apprehension moving it towards an emergent situation. It entered the realm of the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard dispatched a 47' motor lifeboat (surf capable) to respond. From that point forward the Coast Guard handled the case. Please understand, the Coast Guard maintains a "layered defense" in that they have resources such as the 47' motor lifeboat, offshore cutters, and aircraft with crews who are ready to response in short notice to emergency situations. If the weather is too severe for a Sea Tow captain to get underway far offshore, the franchise will often coordinate with the Coast Guard who will initially take the case, then Sea Tow may relieve the tow from the Coast Guard asset as soon as able and practical. Sea Tow and the marine assistance industry does not replace the Coast Guard, rather it partners with the Coast Guard to help improve safety on the water.

To repeat. risk management is the answer. Our captains must factor a variety of inputs to determine the risk of saving life, and/or property. We cannot put ourselves in a position of being the rescuer who later is required to be rescued by the Coast Guard because our judgment was flawed.

Lastly, if you take your 24' boat 30 to 40 miles offshore (or anywhere for that matter), please ensure you have a float plan in the hands of people who know you, you have all the safety equipment you need to survive a quick change in weather, including properly fitting life preservers. You have redundant communications, including DSC radios w/GPS, and a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number. Lastly, I would also highly recommend your boat/you have an 406MHz EPIRB or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) as part of the communications package.

Be safe out there.

Sincerely,

Robert Backhaus, CDR, USCG (RETIRED)
Vice President Operations
Sea Tow Services International
Southold, NY 11971
[email protected]
Work Phone: 631.765.3660 ext 3148
Cell Phone: 631.478.5247

***After the above I asked for permission to post his reply and received the following:
You have my permission to post, but please state the following, "I'm posting this response from Sea Tow, with their permission."
 

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Makes perfect sense to me. If I ever get stranded out there, I don't care who comes and gets me. I keep all the gear that the Sea Tow guy recommends; I just hope it'll all work if I need it.







(Not to change the subject but: I've never actually used my Microfix EPIRB; I just register it and test it with the "test" button. I also have an 'unofficial' EPIRB device which I won't name here, but I use it to send pre-typed messages to my family and friends, such as "We have tuna in the boat". Granted, I've very seldomly had the opportunity to send that message, but when I have, the message is successfully sent only about a third of the time. I hope my 'real' EPIRB works better than it's cheaper cousin.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Makes perfect sense to me. If I ever get stranded out there, I don't care who comes and gets me. I keep all the gear that the Sea Tow guy recommends; I just hope it'll all work if I need it.

(Not to change the subject but: I've never actually used my Microfix EPIRB; I just register it and test it with the "test" button. I also have an 'unofficial' EPIRB device which I won't name here, but I use it to send pre-typed messages to my family and friends, such as "We have tuna in the boat". Granted, I've very seldomly had the opportunity to send that message, but when I have, the message is successfully sent only about a third of the time. I hope my 'real' EPIRB works better than it's cheaper cousin.)
Good time for a reminder. When you receive the message (yearly, at least) to check over your EPIRB info for accuracy, take a minute and make sure every time.
A couple of winters ago 5 scallopers died at the Elephant Trunk because a clerk had entered one of the boat's EPIRB numbers incorrectly.
I question how the whole episode played out on other issues but if the EPIRB info had been verified there is a good chance that they could have survived.
 
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