Two Firefighters Lost At Sea


Junior Member
Absolutely agree. Very sad - and hopefully this will not end with a tragic outcome. I just saw that the USCG is suspending the search tonight. I served 26 years in the Coast Guard, much of that in the field overseeing Search and Rescue operations in the Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico, and can offer some perspective. First, it's not unusual for folks to go that far offshore in that size and type boat, particularly when the weather is forecast to be benign and the trip is expected to be a short out-and back. That said, it is also prudent to take adequate safety equipment along, especially on a single-engine boat under 30' long - which is not your typical oceangoing vessel (and I'd say this applies to sailors as well). Beyond the minimum required gear (PFD's and signaling devices) I'd say take an EPIRB and PLT's along, plus both installed and a handheld VHF radio. Also, if the boat is not "unsinkable" - i.e. foam-filled voids - taking a small liferaft isn't a bad idea either. From a rescuer's perspective, the smaller the search object is, and the less certain we are of the last known position (without comms you don't know), the harder it is to design an effective search, and the less likely we are to find the distress victims. We always talked about "taking the search out of search-and-rescue" - the best way to do that is to have good comms gear, and a way to make yourself very visible if for some reason you end up in the water. You can't imagine how difficult it is to see a person in the water wearing just a PFD. Add the uncertainty of where they might be, and then add days of drift (from wind and current) and the odds of finding someone decline dramatically. I have specific recollection of cases where we searched for days and came up with little or nothing - and I know how difficult it is for families to deal with the uncertainty. Safety equipment and comms gear are expensive, and when you rent a boat to go out for a day to fish you're not thinking about having an accident, but... I just bought an E25, and plan to sail off the coast of Maine, and will most definitely have more than the minimum safety gear onboard.

David Grimm

Thank you for your 26 years of service and perspective of going off shore. Best of luck with the E25.
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Sustaining Member
This type of thing unfortunately happens up here on the Straights on a regular basis. On a beautiful calm day anglers venture out in cockleshell boats to fish. The wind can suddenly come up (proximity to large mountains) to 30 to 40 knots in five minutes or less. Seas rapidly build up. The cockleshell swamps.

"What do you mean you forgot the life jackets?"