August 15, 2014


Wednesday, August 13, 2014, a Washington resident died while diving off the dredge ARGO off the coast of Alaska near Nome. The diver was identified as Sean Beals, a resident of Seattle.
Around 10:30 p.m., the diver was observed floating facedown in the water. The dive tender who spotted the unconscious diver and another crewmember attempted to save the diver before he was transported to the Norton Sound Medical Center. There, he was declared deceased.
There are no signs of foul play, but the details surrounding the death are hazy. AST spokesperson Megan Peters says that the cause of death could be anything from drowning to a medical emergency, and that the Coast Guard is investigating into the matter, labeling the death a major marine incident.
The lawyers at Beard, Stacey, and Jacobsen have handled several recent cases involving the death of divers. Jim Jacobsen recently handled a case where a diver was killed due to an 8,000 pound steel piling pinned him to the ocean floor, recovering a settlement for the diver’s family. Additionally, Jim Beard is currently working on the case of David Scheinost, who was killed when the breathing apparatus he was using malfunctioned, leading to his death by drowning.


A woman who was hiking along the Ecola State Park cliffs near Seaside, Oregon, became trapped by the tide coming in sooner than expected on Sunday, July 6th. The Columbia River Coast Guard Sector received the report from local authorities.
A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was dispatched to the scene from the Coast Guard Air Station Astoria in Oregon, and safely hoisted the stranded woman. Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries, and the hiker was flown to Seaside Airport and transferred to fire rescue personnel.
If hiking or vacationing near the coast, be sure to be aware of when and how much the tide is going in or out.


A boat capsized near the Yaquina Bay Coast Guard Station on July 3, 2014, putting three people in the water. The boat capsized after running into the wake of another vessel, and was seen by Lt. Robert Ornelas, commanding officer of the Yaquina Bay Station.
Both a small response boat and a 47-foot Motor Life Boat responded within minutes of the accident and rescued the three individuals out of the water, before there was even a chance for anyone to make a rescue call.
The Coast Guard was able to turn over the upside down vessel and tow it to the Newport Marina. None of the three people in the boat were wearing life jackets, but were not hurt. Lt. Ornelas warned against having a false sense of safety when the sun is out and the water is calm, as the water temperature and hypothermia are still dangerous.


The Coast Guard rescued two people after their vessel caught fire on the Fourth of July. The 70-foot pleasure boat was near Destruction Island, Washington, when the engine caught fire, prompting the two to put out a distress call on VHF-FM radio channel 16.
Both a Motor Life Boat crew and a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew responded to the call, and rescued both the man and his wife. The vessel, the LA PIETRA, is from Beverly Hills, California.

August 13, 2014

F/V PACIFIC QUEEN Grounded in Juneau, Alaska

June 12, PACIFIC QUEEN grounded while moored at Harris Harbor in Juneau. Her hull sustained some minor damage, but the main concern was for the approximately 150 gallons of diesel fuel on board. A small sheen was noted, although the vessel was stabilized by the owner before it got worse. The Coast Guard is overseeing any pollution and safety issues concerned with this grounding.

PACIFIC QUEEN is a 71-foot wooden hulled fishing vessel based in Wrangell, Alaska. She was built in 1938.

July 20, 2014

F/V VERNON Takes On Water But Avoids Sinking

Friday morning, the crew of purse seiner VERNON contacted the Coast Guard with the news that they had a foot of water in their engine room. This happened near Ketchikan, Alaska, in seas of two feet with 10 mph winds. The Coast Guard sent out two boats in response. A Coast Guard team with four dewatering pump were able stabilize the flooding enough to escort VERNON back to port. The cause of the flooding is under investigation.

VERNON appears to be home ported in Seattle, with owners based in Renton, Washington. This vessel is wooden-hulled and built in 1920.

July 10, 2014

Rudy Dushkin Jr. Falls Overboard of F/V MATT-MICHELLE, Perishes

On the morning of July 6, while weighing anchor near King Cove, Alaska, a large swell broadsided 32-foot, Juneau-based MATT-MICHELLE, sending 53-year-old Rudy Dushkin Jr. overboard. The only other person on the vessel was the owner/captain, Bert Bendixon. Mr. Bendixon sent a distress call as he threw a life ring to Mr. Dushkin, but Mr. Dushkin had already drifted too far away. Some details of the recovery efforts have yet to be verified, but according to one report, the captain was eventually able to get to Mr. Dushkin with a long line and then, after donning a survival suit, he jumped into the frigid water and pulled Mr. Dushkin to land. Mr. Dushkin is said to not have been wearing a life jacket.

On land, the F/V MISS ROXANNE crew assisted in trying to revive Mr. Dushkin. Sadly, no one was able to resuscitate him.

As an investigation by authorities continues, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Rudy Paul Dushkin, Jr.

F/V JEANOAH Crew Avoids Sinking Thanks to Coast Guard and Good Samaritan F/V KATHERINE

Yesterday, the crew of 67-foot JEANOAH began taking on water in the Shelikof Straight about 40 miles west of Kodiak, Alaska. The captain contacted the Coast Guard with the news that they’d struck a rock and needed help. The Coast Guard sent out a helicopter and a cutter, as well as issued an urgent marine information broadcast.

The crew of KATHERINE heard the UMIB and headed over to help tow JEANOAH into safer water. A Coast Guard swimmer from the cutter, ROANOKE ISLAND, delivered dewatering pumps and effected basic temporary repairs. Seaworthy enough to travel under her own power again, JEANOAH then began her trip back in calm weather to her home port of Kodiak, escorted by ROANOKE ISLAND.

Quick action and help from the Coast Guard and KATHERINE saved JEANOAH from what might have been a very different fate.

June 30, 2014

TERESA D Good Samaritans Save Five Men on Columbia River – One Man Perishes

On June 20, around 9:20 a.m, a 25-foot aluminum fishing guide boat with six men on board went down in near the Columbia River bar. Witnesses say the boat flipped over in heavy waves. All six of the men on the boat were wearing life jackets, so the men on TERESA D, were able to locate five of them and fish them out safely. Unfortunately, a six man, said to be Craig Robert Biggs of West Linn, Oregon, had become entangled in line or net, and could not be resuscitated when the Coast Guard located him.

The TERESA D crew had seen that the fishing boat was having trouble, so they had been keeping an eye on them and following. This, their safety preparedness and communication equipment, and their quick action saved the five men.

Good Samaritans play a huge role in keeping each other safe out there. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Craig Robert Biggs.

June 27, 2014

Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Update

Recently, the Coast Guard in Alaska terminated three fishing vessel voyages, one for not having emergency flares, and two for not having other necessary safety gear on board. All commercial fishing vessels are required by law to have safety gear and a crew trained in how to use it.

Briefly, depending on vessel and crew size and working distance from shore, each fishing vessel is required to carry personal flotation devices (PDFs), emersion suits, and/or survival craft; lifesaving rings; distress signals like flares, flags, and smoke signals; an electronic position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB); and fire fighting equipment. All this equipment must be maintained and tested as specified. For the requirements pertaining to your fishing vessel, check out 46 CFR 28.100 – 165.

The Coast Guard continues to conduct free dockside safely inspections, free of penalties. If there are discrepancies, they will provide a list of what you need to do to correct them. Vessels passing inspection receive a safety decal to display. The dockside safety inspection is voluntary until October 16, 2015, when it becomes mandatory. The Coast Guard can conduct at-sea inspections at their own discretion, and the 46 CFR 28 requirements must be met or the voyage is terminated and remains terminated until the problems are rectified. To request a voluntary dockside safety inspection, please click here.

Commercial fishing continues to be among the most hazardous jobs in the U.S., and any work at sea and in weather involves risk, but we can make good decisions about safety to offset the risks. Being prepared on a seaworthy vessel will go a long way toward getting your crew mates, your haul, and yourself back to shore, SAFELY.