CG Rescue Swimmer's Usual Day's Work!

This happened in my local backyard and, this being a pretty quiet place, has generated a lot of local gossip and rumor. Apparently the “perp” (as they say) was wanted and actively sought by Canadian authorities (their Border Patrol?) which has generated a lot of uninformed speculation that drug running may have something to do with this whole event . Beside the weird fish leaving activity in Astoria, he stole a good sized boat from Astoria’s West Basin Marina and headed out over the Columbia River Bar. Problem was, the Bar was kicking up moderately nasty. But, because they love those kind of training conditions, the Coat Guard’s Cape Disappointment Lifeboat School had the fleet of 47’ MLB’s out for exercise. So beside the MLB that was dispatched in response to the perp’s Mayday (along w. the helo), you see several other 47’ MLBs circling the area. To someone who tries to stay OUT of the water when crossing this Bar, the videos are pretty incredible! But all in a day’s work for these rescue swimmer guys! And this one was just a finishing student! Obviously got a A on his final grade! This water is 52 deg. F. +/- all year long so if you’re not in a suit, you’re immobilized within just a few minutes and dead in not that many more! Exemplary as they are in SAR, the CG was a bit slow on the law enforcement side and hadn’t connected with the local police “bolos” for this guy or the stolen boat when they handed him off to the local hospital…which he signed himself out of promptly. Fortunately the nearby Seaside PD found the guy under an assumed name at a local warming shelter for the homeless! So he’s behind bars in Astoria now, awaiting seeing the judge on several local charges and a visit from some Canadian officers as well.


Remeber when the USCG was mostly about search and rescue, as shown in video? Yeah, I remember.


Don’t forget that for their first 125 years they were primarily tax collection and law enforcement :slightly_smiling_face: It was 88 years of revenue cutters before the US Lifesaving Service was founded and another 37 years before the two were combined into the USCG.


At least they were true in the advertising, revenue cutters!

Coast Guard weather !! Semper Paratus !!

I just saw the water temp reports and the water temp at the mouth of the Columbia right now (where this event took place) is actually closer to 47 deg. F. rather than 52, which, (+/- about 2 deg.) is pretty much the year round temp of the offshore (say 100 fathom line) water on this part of the Coast. That is probably because the Columbia water is always very cold this time of year, and is flowing from an area that has been unseasonably cold this year. That extra -5 deg. doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but if you’re immersed in it, I think it has a big influence on how fast you deteriorate.

The Coast Guard has always been a multi mission force. But I think every Coast Guardsman and women has always has SAR as their primary mission. In my short time in, I don’t remember a fish patrol or a drug patrol that didn’t end up with some part of it being search and rescue. Heck we even picked up survivors from a singing sailboat on an icebreaker on the way back from Antarctica.

I understand some of the regulatory/law enforcement job that the CG is tasked with sometimes leaves a bad taste in some mouths - but I can tell you that all of those Coasties would much rather be out helping someone in need.

Missions of the Coast Guard

Coast Guard units each perform more than one kind of mission – sometimes on the same day. They are America’s Maritime Guardians, saving lives and deterring complex threats – from disrupting transnational crime and terrorism, to preventing cyber threats to our ports, to addressing the impact of human activity in the polar-regions as ice caps recede.

Search and Rescue: Prevent loss of life or injury and minimize property loss at sea by rendering aid to those in distress. Search and Rescue is one of the Coast Guard’s oldest missions.

Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security: Protect people and property in the U.S. Maritime Transportation System by preventing, disrupting and responding to terrorist attacks, sabotage, espionage or subversive acts.

Drug Interdiction: Deter and disrupt the illegal drug market, dismantle transnational organized crime and prevent these threats from reaching U.S. shores. The USCG coordinates closely with other federal agencies and allied partners within a six-million-square-mile area known as the transit zone.

Migrant Interdiction: Promote safe, legal and orderly migration operations by enforcing U.S. immigration laws, upholding international conventions against human smuggling and repatriating undocumented migrants.

Living Marine Resources: Enforce U.S. and international laws and treaties to conserve living marine resources and their habitat, including endangered and protected species and locales.

Marine Environmental Protection: Reduce the risk of harm to the marine ecosystem by developing and enforcing regulations to avert the introduction of invasive species, prevent and respond to oil spills and hazardous substance discharges and stop unauthorized ocean dumping.

Ice Operations: Break ice in the Great Lakes and Northeast to facilitate commerce and protect communities in emergency situations. Conduct research and resupply the McMurdo Station research center in Antarctica, and maintain year-round access to the planet’s polar regions using Polar Icebreakers.

Marine Safety: Prevent accidents and property losses by establishing maritime standards, conducting inspections and investigations, partnering with boating safety organizations and licensing U.S. mariners.

Aids to Navigation: Mark the nation’s Marine Transportation System, including waterways and ports. Maintain 50,000 electronic and visual aids and provide traffic management services to keep mariners and boaters safe.

Other Law Enforcement: Protect the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from encroachments by foreign fishing vessels and enforce agreements to reduce illegal fishing. The U.S. exercises sovereign rights over all resources in the EEZ, which encompasses more than 4.5 million square miles of waters within 200 miles of the U.S. coastline.

Defense Readiness: Support the national military strategy and Department of Defense movement and operations by securing airspace in Washington, DC; conducting intercept operations; and in-theater environmental protection, force protection and port control.