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Boat on the sea
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Kirkbride-300x150It is with great pleasure that we announce SN Theodore Noah S. Kirkbride of USCG Station Maui has been named the 2020 Enlisted Person of the Year.

Kirkbride, currently assigned to U.S. Coast Guard Station Maui, is originally from San Diego, California, where he graduated from Mount Carmel High School. After completing U.S. Coast Guard bootcamp in 2018, he was stationed in Maui, where he received training and developed his passion for emergency response work.

“I joined the Coast Guard seeking adventure, however, since reporting to my first unit, my whole purpose behind joining has changed dramatically,” said Kirkbride. “I realized how much we are able to do for the community; I may have joined for adventure, but I’m staying because I feel like I can help build better communities.”

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Wheel-300x150We are pleased to report that Maritime High School will open its doors to the first class of 9th graders this fall. The school is in Des Moines, Washington, just south of Seattle. Students from across the Puget Sound region with an interest in maritime careers will have the unique opportunity to learn from leaders and mentors who work and serve in maritime fields. This first class of students will graduate in 2025.

Young people who are interested in maritime careers will have the opportunity to engage in innovative and targeted learning objectives featuring skill based and knowledge based learning. Whether students enter the work force right after high school or go on to community college or university, they will possess the tools necessary for success. Through internships and partnerships with local businesses, student learning will focus on marine science, maritime careers (any type of work on or near the water), and maritime environmental issues.

The school will take advantage of new technology to offer a hybrid learning environment. A robust curriculum has been developed in which students will learn in the classroom, online, and in the field at least twice weekly. Technology is at the forefront of all that Seattle Maritime High School offers; all students will be provided with a laptop and essential software. Opportunities to earn college credit will also be readily available. Maritime High School will be administered by the Highline Public School district.

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Coast-Guard-Grays-Harbor-300x150It is with great sadness that we report the search for a missing fisherman near Grays Harbor, Washington has been suspended.

Jason LaBrie, a 47-year-old from Oregon City, was reported overboard on Thursday, May 13th after crewmembers aboard the 26-foot F/V DEFIANCE II discovered he was missing. The crew was halibut fishing approximately 28 miles off the coast of Grays Harbor at the time of the incident.

F/V DEFIANCE II crew activated an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) at about 12:39 P.M. and within minutes, watchstanders at District 13 alerted all vessels in the area about the missing mariner. A 47-foot lifeboat and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter were deployed. Search-and-rescue crews were on the scene by 1:10 p.m.

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Burning-Boat-Coast-Guard-300x150At approximately 6 p.m. on May 5th, watchstanders at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received a distress call reporting that a 48-foot vessel was on fire just off the shore of Port Angeles, WA. The three men aboard the vessel were unable to extinguish the flames.

An Air Station Port Angeles MH-65 rescue helicopter crew as well as a Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew responded and were at the scene within 15 minutes. The three men were rescued from the burning yacht, and the U.S. Coast Guard boat crew boarded the burning vessel and attempted to extinguish the fire with the use of a fire extinguisher and a water pump. The vessel was then placed in tow to rendezvous with local firefighters. As they were traveling, the fire re-flashed, forcing the boat crew to break the tow. Emergency personnel remained on the scene to monitor and secure the area. The yacht sank shortly after the rescue; however, no fuel sheen was observed.

“The fast action to call for help was essential to their survival,” said Petty Officer Alexander Polyak, watchstander at Sector Puget Sound command center. “Having a reliable means of communication, appropriate for your location and distance offshore, can mean the difference between life and death. We encourage all mariners to not only have cell phones, but make sure you have a VHF-FM marine-band radio to ensure communication capability in the event of an emergency.”

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USCGC_MIDGETT_WMSL-757_Honolulu_HarborIn a heroic effort by the U.S. Coast Guard, a mariner was medevaced from the F/V VICIOUS CYCLE after sustaining a forearm injury. The vessel was located approximately 130-miles southwest of Kailua Kona, Hawaii at the time of the incident.

Sector Honolulu watchstanders received the call from a Good Samaritan at approximately 11:14AM on April 27th, 2021, reporting that the master of the F/V VICIOUS CYCLE had sustained an injury.

Attempts were made to contact the vessel via radio, but the fishing boat was out of radio range. An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew was launched and was able to make contact with the vessel. The Coast Guard duty flight surgeon was contacted, and based on the situation, recommended that the mariner be medevaced.

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Cordova_Alaska_Forward-300x150In anticipation of increased maritime activity during the summer fishing season, the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak has opened the aviation support facility in Cordova, Alaska. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, safety gear, and equipment were transferred to Cordova by Air Station Kodiak aircrews on Saturday, May 1st, 2021. These forward deployed hubs dramatically reduce response times and have been proven to save lives when accidents happen.

“Establishing forward operating locations helps us ensure the safety of mariners during peak fishing seasons in the region by allowing us to get on scene faster,” said Lt. Scott Kellerman, a helicopter pilot from Air Station Kodiak. “Staging crews and aircraft in Cordova can eliminate hours of flight time transiting from Kodiak to maritime emergencies in eastern Alaska during one of the busiest fishing seasons of the year.”

By establishing seasonal locations throughout the state of Alaska, the U.S. Coast Guard can cut down response times to all mariners by reducing the distance aircrews must travel when responding to emergencies.

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Disembarking-via-gangway-OSHAEach year fishermen, crewmembers, and deckhands are injured aboard fishing vessels due to slip and fall accidents. Many of these accidents occur on decks, ladders, and stairs, and most happen due to:

  • poorly maintained equipment
  • equipment that is out of compliance
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FaceMasks12x6-300x150The fishing and maritime industries have been hit hard by COVID-19 as outbreaks have swiftly traveled through vessels and processers. No one knows for certain how an individual will respond to the virus; many show no signs of illness but may be highly contagious. Others become so ill they require hospitalization, and many develop long-term medical conditions as a result of the illness. Every aspect of the seafood supply chain has been distressed by the pandemic, especially for those who work in fishing and processing.

To reduce the transmission of COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued an emergency order requiring all persons “traveling on conveyances into and within the United States” to wear a face mask. But how does this affect the fishing and maritime industries?

U.S. Coast Guard has been granted the authority to implement public health measures consistent with the CDC guidelines at seaports (e.g., passenger terminals, cargo handling facilities, and other shoreside facilities that provide transportation of persons or cargo). The CDC mask requirement has been interpreted by the U.S. Coast Guard to apply to “all forms of commercial maritime vessels,” including cargo ships, fishing vessels, research vessels, and self-propelled barges.  The Marine Safety Information Bulletin states that all persons working or traveling on commercial vessels are required to “wear a face mask or cloth face covering when outside of individual cabins.”

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PA-Bay-300x150It is with great sadness that we report the death of a commercial diver who was working in the waters of Port Angeles. According to a statement issued by the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, Anthony Gockerell, 35, died after his air cable apparently became entangled.

Peninsula Communications received the call that a commercial diver working at the Dungeness West geoduck track was in distress. Crewmembers reported that Gockerell signaled to the crew that his surface-supplied air umbilical cord was “unable to clear”, which the crew interpreted to mean that his cord was entangled in debris.

It was reported that crewmembers and officers with the State Department of Natural Resources (who were supervising the geoduck harvest) struggled for approximately two minutes before freeing Mr. Gockerell, who was diving in about 70 feet of water.

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Coast-Guard-MH-60-Jayhawk-300x169The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a woman from the F/V AMERICAN TRIUMPH on February 27th, 2021 after it was reported that she was suffering from symptoms consistent with an allergic reaction.

Watchstanders at the 17th District command center in Juneau received the call from Health Force Partners on behalf of F/V AMERICAN TRIUMPH at about 4 p.m. and directed the launch of a crew from Forward Operating Location Cold Bay. The vessel was located approximately 100 miles northwest of the Cold Bay location.

The 31-year old crewmember was hoisted by an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and transported to a LifeMed flight team in Cold Bay. She was then transported to a higher level of care in Anchorage.

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