Cutter Escanaba breaks ice early in its career on the Great Lakes. U.S. Coast Guard Collection.

The Long Blue Line: 75 years ago – Escanaba rescues hundreds then perishes

Following a U-boat attack of the passenger steamer Cherokee, Lt. Robert “Bob” Prause, Jr., developed a cold-water rescue system of tethered rescue swimmers equipped with rubber exposure suits. These came in handy later when the U.S. Army Transport Dorchester was hit by a torpedo in icy waters between Newfoundland and Greenland in 1943. Prause’s system was one of the Coast Guard’s first successful cold-water rescue methods.


The Long Blue Line: Coast Guardsman’s invention of cold-water rescue technique saved over 100 lives during WWII

Coast Guard men and women have long created innovative ways to solve the service’s challenges. Lt. Robert Henry “Bob” Prause, Jr., interests in technology and engineering would prove invaluable during WWII.