If you hear a nearby vessel is in trouble, what do you do? For fishermen and other seamen, it's usually a no-brainer: you see how you can help.
Early on January 25, 2012, the seven-person crew of F/V HERITAGE placed a distress call as their vessel sank in rough seas off Kodiak, AK. The Coast Guard picked up two of the HERITAGE crew from the water by helicopter, as Seattle-based F/V TUXEDNI crew picked up the other five from their life raft.
On Saturday, September 8, the Coast Guard, local rescue agencies, and Good Samaritans searched for and rescued two men whose boat sank off Beaver Point, Alaska. The boat is said to be a 28-foot aluminum vessel called KAITLIN RAI. When waves capsized her, the men were able to climb onto the hull, which gave them time to take some action before she sunk. Stonie "Mac" Huffman was able to find a survival suit floating among the debris, and eventually was able to don it. With some mutual effort, Ryan Hunter Harris was able to get into a fishing tote and kept afloat in that manner. The waves soon separated the men. Mac Huffman spent the night floating in his survival suit before landing on the beach at Point Amelia and attracting rescuers.
The morning of August 2, 50-foot F/V EVENING STAR sunk in about 300 feet of water at Slocum Arm, which is about forty miles northwest of Sitka, with about 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board. A significant oil sheen of about three-quarters of a mile in length was soon noticed, which prompted an emergency purse seine fishery closure in the area so as to avoid any risk of harvesting in contaminated waters.
F/V VIEWPOINT, a 1945 49-foot seiner which, according to records, is owned by William Farmer and hails out of Craig, AK, is reported to have sunk early on July 29 off the east coast of Prince of Wales Island, north of the Dixon Entrance.
Shortly before 11:00 p.m. on July 26, the crew of 79-foot F/V MARY KAY issued a mayday to the Coast Guard that they were taking on water in the Dixon Entrance near Cape Chacon, which is at the southern tip of Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. The Coast Guard then relayed an urgent marine information broadcast. Among those responding were an Alaska Wildlife Trooper skiff and Good Samaritans F/V IRISH ROSE and F/V NORTH WIND. By the time these vessels arrived, the four crewmembers of MARY KAY had donned their survival suits and abandoned ship for their life raft. Those aboard the Alaska Wildlife Trooper skiff were able to take on the four MARY KAY crewmembers and transfer them to NORTH WIND, which then took them up to Ketchikan. No major medical problems were reported.
Early the morning of June 11, the crew of F/V FLYING OCEAN contacted Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak requesting medevac, stating that they had taken aboard the captain of F/V PROVIDENCE, who had suffered a hand injury near Chignik, Alaska, and that they were headed toward Kodiak. The Coast Guard launched a helicopter at 4:35 a.m. in order to airlift the captain to Kodiak, where emergency medical care awaited. The PROVIDENCE captain was reported to be in stable condition.
Early this morning, the two fishermen aboard 81-foot F/V PLAN B sent a call to the Coast Guard Sector Northern New England, reporting that they were taking on water about eight miles off Kennebunkport, Maine, and that their pumps were not working fast enough to keep them from flooding, in weather noted to be two-foot seas with winds up to 15 knots. The two men were rescued and taken aboard in good shape by Good Samaritan F/V CAMERAN LEE, after CAMERAN LEE responded the Coast Guard's urgent marine information broadcast.
January 9, the captain of F/V VINCENZO radioed the New Haven Coast Guard, gave their position as twelve miles south of Shinnecock, Long Island, and said that the vessel was flooding. Soon after that, he radioed again that the two-person crew were in their survival suits and were abandoning ship for their life raft, EPIRB in hand.