Motor lifeboat

Not just a surfman’s world

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.


Lifeboat training

Nothing disappointing at Cape Disappointment

The search and rescue alarm sounds at Station Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, Wash., early one fall morning. Petty Officer 1st Class Bradd Beckett, boatswain’s mate and surfman, races to the 47-foot motor lifeboat along with his crew. The crew hurries to assist a boat taking on 14-foot waves near the south jetty at the Columbia River entrance. Arriving alongside the boat, Beckett turns to his skills and knowledge acquired the previous year at the National Motor Lifeboat School to bring the distressed mariners and his crew back safely.


Extreme aircrew training at ‘Graveyard of the Pacific’

Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Littlejohn, 13th Coast Guard District public affairs. Hail pelts the side of students’ faces as they prepare to plunge into the frigid surf. Their teachers put on fins while lifeguards float on jet […]