Recent Updates for U.S. Coast Guard Digital Newsroom 

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. – A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City, Michigan used the rotor wash from their aircraft to help clear a path for two fishermen who were pushed offshore aboard their 16-foot boat by wind and ice, and then became surrounded by the ice off Holland, Saturday.

There is not imagery at this time and the Coast Guard is not releasing the names of the individuals.

Shortly before 10 a.m., a Watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee received a call from Ottawa County Dispatch about two fishermen in distress on Lake Michigan about a mile and a half offshore. The two men had been fishing near the mouth of Lake Macatawa when they quickly became beset in ice being moved by strong southwest winds 

The Watchstander directed the launch of a boat crew from Coast Guard Station Grand Haven aboard a 47-foot response boat, and an aircrew aboard a Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City. Additionally, the officer-in-charge of Coast Guard Station Holland responded shoreside to maintain visual contact with the fishermen until the other Coast Guard personnel and assets arrived on scene.

The boat crew transited south on Lake Michigan from Grand Haven for about 15 miles before they were hindered by the ice about six miles from the fishermen and could not maneuver any closer.

The aircrew arrived overhead at about 11 a.m. to find the fishermen and their 16-foot boat surrounded by a vast ice shelf consisting of large chunks of ice, some 20-30 feet wide and two-feet thick. Due to the ice coverage, the fishermen had no way to get back to shore.

After deciding against hoisting the men up into the helicopter because of a potential to capsize the small boat with the helicopter’s rotor wash, the aircrew lowered a radio down to the fishermen to communicate another plan of action. It was then that the aircrew saw the ice beginning to part and break up from the rotor wash. The aircrew continued to hover between 50-80 feet above the ice for about 45 minutes, maneuvering the craft so that the rotor wash could create an open path for the fisherman to finally head to shore.

“This was definitely the most out-of-the-box case I’ve been involved with.” said Lt. Rocco Franco, one of the pilots of the aircrew. “It’s not very often that our helicopter is used an ice breaker.”

The fishermen made their way safely back to shore where they were met by Chief Petty Officer Eli Paquette, officer-in-charge of Coast Guard Station Holland. By this time, the men and their small fishing boat had been taken almost two miles north from where they began fishing. 

Both men were in good condition and were not in need of any medical condition.

The Coast Guard reminds everyone that there is still a presence of ice on Lake Michigan that can easily be blown in different directions by the wind. As a result, people on the water can find themselves in life-threatening situations very quickly. Those who must venture out onto the water should check the weather conditions, particularly the wind speed and direction, dress for the water temperature and not the air temperature, and always were a life jacket.


This tragedy could have been averted

On April 11, 2015, in Incidents, by CaptRR

never_again is seeking signatures:

Black tar-like sludge is washing up on Vancouver’s beaches after a toxic oil spill from a freighter in English Bay. [1]

Because the Harper Conservatives closed the Kitsilano Coast Guard station in 2013, emergency responders had to come from Richmond, and it took over 6 hours for crews to arrive on the scene and deploy absorbent booms. Responders from the Kitsilano base could have been on site with the right equipment in 6 minutes. [2]

Now, the Harper Government wants to turn Vancouver into a major dirty energy shipping port, with hundreds of tankers carrying tarsands oil and LNG passing through the harbour annually. With the Conservatives feeling the heat and an election around the corner, we need to act now to protect the coast.

We call on Conservative MPs in Vancouver to:
-Reopen the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station, and restore funding for Marine Communications Centres in B.C.
-Ban increased tanker traffic through B.C.’s sensitive waterways.

Why is this important?

The Harper government allowed this relatively small spill to become a serious tragedy by closing the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, and they’re inviting even worse tragedies if they allow expanded tanker traffic on the B.C. coast.

Kinder Morgan is proposing a pipeline and tanker that would bring hundreds of huge tarsands oil tankers through Vancouver’s harbour each year — putting us at risk of a catastrophic oil spill when we weren’t even prepared for a spill that would be considered small by industry standards.

In the wake of the Vancouver oil spill, thousands of people are looking for answers. If we raise our voices together now, we can expose how the Harper Government’s negligence turned this spill into a tragedy. With an election coming up, Conservative MPs in the Lower Mainland will be under tremendous pressure to give us a real plan to protect the B.C. coast.

[1] Fuel oil spill from freighter in Vancouver harbour triggers cleanup.

[2] Now-closed Kisilano Coast Guard Base would have responded to oil spill instantly (Vancity Buzz).

(Thanks to Bailee Reid via facebook)


Moxie Epoxy has the balance of the post:

For the last 4 years of my life I have been working on sailboats professionally. Most of that time has been spent working in the day charter industry in both the Virgin Islands and Hawaii. In that same time frame, Bravo came out with a TV Show called Below Deck. Now, just as The Real World didn’t actually portray what it’s like to have roommates, this “reality” TV show does not come close to summing up my life. Unlike the catty, bratty and pathetic girls on that show (which I’ve only seen two episodes of), I have been surrounded by nothing but badass women on all the boats I’ve worked. If you’d like a small glimpse into what life is REALLY like for us girls who work on day charter boats, here are some odd facts that seem totally unique to this profession.

  1. We are mechanically inclined. Girls who work on boats know a thing or two about mechanical issues and engines – we are very unlikely to be the damsel in distress that you find on the side of the road. We have become attuned to the way engines should sound, we know how to check our own oil, we can troubleshoot basic issues and we make sure to do regular maintenance and oil changes.
  2. We have horrible tan lines. Whether it’s because we’re required to wear shorts all day or simply because we always opt to wear X-Back bikinis, we’re constantly walking around with funky tan lines. If you see a girl with a mean watch tan, she may be one of us.


Addressing our customers’ need for increased scheduling effectiveness and improved reaction time to changes, we are excited to introduce a brand new set of Notifications:
Destination Changed:
Get notified as soon as the destination of a vessel is updated by the crew
Vessel to Vessel Proximity:
Get notified if a vessel is too close to another vessel
Vessel to Port Proximity:
Get notified when a vessel is approaching a Port. Receive subsequent notifications based on your predefined distance intervals until arrival
Changed Course:
Get notified when a vessel deviates considerably from her course
AIS ETA changed:
Get notified when the Estimated Time of Arrival of a vessel to a port is updated by the crew

Purser McElroy and Captain Smith on the

Photo credit:

Capt. Smith failed his Navigation Test

Listverse is reporing:

For more than a century, the tragic story of the RMS Titanic has gripped the imagination of the world. Yet there are many crucial details of that infamous April night that remain relatively unknown. For example . .

The complete Listverse post by Estelle Thurtle is here.


Sailing The Arctic Race

On April 9, 2015, in General Boating, by CaptRR


Sailing The Arctic Race is heading north in 2017, taking a fleet of international sailors racing high performance volcanic-fiber offshore yachts for an epic adventure through pristine wilderness.

Rapid climate change has hit the Arctic hard.  For the first time in human history it is possible to sail over the top of North America in a single season.

In 2017, crews aboard a fleet of revolutionary volcanic fiber STAR46 racing yachtswill compete for the glory of being the first to race through the Passage, breaking records for the fastest transit.  Fans can get their own taste of Arctic adventure and cheer on the elite sailors at any of the 7 host cities along the race route.

You can find more info here.


Divers recover $65m of silver coins

On April 9, 2015, in Salvage, by CaptRR

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 8.55.24 AM

MSN has the post:

A British-led team has set the record for the deepest salvage operation in history after recovering coins worth $65 million from the wreck of a British steamship that was sunk in 1942. 

The salvage team recovered the silver coins from the SS City of Cairo, which was sunk by a German submarine in November 1942, en route from Bombay to England. The ship was carrying 100 tonnes of silver coins, which belonged to the Treasury and had been called in by London to help fund the war effort.

The complete MSN post byRebecca Ratcliffe is here.

(Thanks to John Chessell for the link)


The Stupid shall be Punished

On April 8, 2015, in Incidents, by CaptRR

THE GLOUCESTER CLAM The Gloucester Clam is reporting is reporting:

Real Coast Guard Rescues Fake Bro-Pirates

Ok, so the sea is a tricky place. We know that. But you, dear friends may not know this about your beloved The Clam: we used to work for Outward Bound in Maine years ago and have spent a lot of time sailing around rough water in rickety, open wooden boats. So we were sympathetic when the Liana’s Ransom, a fake pirate ship, was disabled off our coast and was abandoned after a rescue by Coastguardspersons from Gloucester Small Boat Station and Air Station Cape Cod. Word to the USCG, and anytime anyone makes that asshole joke that goes, “The worst thing you can ever hear are the words, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’” feel free to punch them in the dick area and say, “Semper Paratus”.

However, when we started looking into the story we have to admit passing some judgement. They lost power? It’s a sail boat. Why didn’t they put a jib up or something? Again, we weren’t there but you know, that’s the standard procedure when on a sailboat, using the actual sails. It’s like in the name and everything. The story said their sails were all twisted around the mast. All of them? The jibs? Really guys?

The Gloucester Clam post by Jeff Dowd is here.

(Thanks to Jeff Carson via facebook for the link)


Whale Scout

On April 7, 2015, in Whales and Wildlife, by CaptRR


Whale Scout is a local (PNW) non profit dedicated to watching whales from land.  If you’re interested in finding out more info, including local whale sitings, it’s worth checking out their page.

They will update you via text, facebook, twitter and their site.

Watch Whales with a Whale Scout

Join us at beaches around Puget Sound to watch whales! We make land-based whale watching experiences free, fun, and educational. Our favorite time of the year is the fall and winter when we watch endangered Southern Resident killer whales (orcas) travel past Seattle and Tacoma in search of salmon. During other times of the year we watch transient killer whales hunting for seals and other marine mammals and occasionally we spot Gray whales in the spring.

Not everyone can afford a whale watch trip, and this site offers education and the possibility to see whales locally.



Salish Sea Pilot has just released its 2015 Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands and Desolation Sound cruising guides. The guides are completely rebuilt and will soon be followed by guides to Puget Sound and the Sunshine Coast.

Nothing feels more altruistic than offering cruising guides as free downloads. And it made the folks at Salish Sea Pilot pretty popular at dock  parties, too.

But after more than 17,000 free downloads of their guides to waters off B.C. and Washington state, the publishers decided that maybe “almost free” would be a touch more sustainable.

Jim Burgoyne and Lynne Picard just released their completely rebuilt 2015 Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands and Desolation Sound cruising guides, adding many new illustrations, fresh information and making them much easier to navigate. They are offering the ebooks for $5 each.

Salish Sea Pilot will also soon be releasing guides to Puget Sound and the Northern Georgia Strait, as well. The five guides will cover virtually every good anchorage and marina with visitor moorage across the Salish Sea.

The guides are best viewed on a tablet device, but they will run on Windows and Macintosh computer and virtually any smartphone, as well.

Researching and creating the guides has been pretty much a full-time job for Burgoyne since 2011 when he and Picard sailed home from Asia.

“I was naive,” he said. “I thought with reasonable rates and lots of readers, advertisers would fall out of trees to be in our guides. But times were tough. We cover a huge area spread over two countries and figure we needed a full-time crew of ad-sellers on jet skis to make it work.”

With a smile, Burgoyne said he should have paid closer attention to what went on in the advertising department during his years as a newspaper journalist.

Many of the changes in the new guides came about from feedback they received from users of the beta versions. “We rely a lot on our users,” he said. “No one knows an anchorage better than someone who returns there year after year to reunite with friends.­”

The little company takes pride that the guides are constantly updated and changes are made the moment they learn of them, Burgoyne said.

Visit them at

You can find a sample HERE.

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