Station Umpqua River is home to a crew of dedicated Coast Guardsmen, sentinels to the abundance of recreational and commercial fisherman in the region. The station is remote, isolated and bears witness to some of the worst water there is. It’s also home to Chief Petty Officer Benjamin Snider, an extraordinarily skilled surfman.
Just like any position in the U.S. Coast Guard, women can serve – and surf – as surfman. As the nation reflects on the role women have played in forming our great nation, Compass traveled to the National Motor Life Boat School in Ilwaco, Wash., to hear from women surfman on how they came to be elite boat drivers.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Ouellette was fresh out of boot camp in July 2007 when he was assigned to Station Grays Harbor. He arrived at his first Coast Guard unit ready to learn. Fast forward to today and Ouellette has more than just learned; he has mastered. Ouellette has earned the title of Coast Guard surfman No. 473. Along with his title of surfman, he has also earned the unofficial title of “seaman to surfman” at Grays Harbor – meaning he arrived at the unit a seaman and will be leaving a surfman.
Saying Aloha to the Pacific’s heavy seas, National Motor Lifeboat School’s instructors just finished two weeks of intensive search and rescue training off the coast of Hawaii. Lifesavers from throughout the Pacific gathered at Station Honolulu for a series of unique skill enhancement evolutions.
Chatham is the only unit to operate the 42-foot Special Purpose Craft – Near Shore Lifeboat. The lifeboat was specifically designed for operating in shallow water, such as the conditions found on the Chatham bar where there are depths as shallow as four feet. The lifeboat is equipped with state-of-the-art wireless control systems and twin jet-drives. As a highly unique craft, the lifeboat requires a skilled operator at the helm, and no one is better at the helm than Chief Petty Officer William Lefever.
Because today is Halloween – a day of spooky ghost stories, haunted houses and trick or treating – we thought we would take a moment and ask Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Mantell what he feared most. Mantell is a junior surfman responsible for operating in one of the nation’s most perilous maritime environments – Cape Disappointment. Commonly known as Station Cape “D,” crewmembers respond to more than 300 calls for assistance every year. Here, in his own words, is Mantell’s response to “What scares you?”
This story was originally released as a U.S. Coast Guard feature story and was written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler. The crew of Station Quillayute River gathered on a beach at La Push, Wash., for a ceremonial reenactment [...]
The fishing vessel Double Eagle was passing through the bar at Tillamook Bay, Ore., when it was hit broadside by a 16-foot plunging break. In the blink of an eye the vessel capsized and split in half. As two fishermen’s [...]