Re: “Calif ferry helps rescue 27 children from training ship”

Two things occurred to me after reading this article and the accompanying USCG press release. 
First: if I’m ever in trouble at sea, I want the US Coast Guard coming to the rescue.  The American Coast Guard is arguably the best search and rescue organization in the world.  Admittedly, in the case described in the referenced article the distressed vessel was in calm water and the rescue was relatively easy.  But the Coast Guard response was immediate and it was with assets suited to the job.  In many other and far more dramatic instances, the Coasties have proven their worth, even at great risk to themselves. 
The second thought that occurs to me concerns the civilian passenger ferry Intintoli that also responded to the distress call.  It’s certainly not surprising that civilian mariners would respond to a distress call — it’s the law, but more importantly, it’s the strongest of traditions and the right thing to do.  I doubt that the Intintoli crew consider themselves heroes or believe that they did much beyond routine work, but I also doubt that there was any hesitation on their part to assist in any way they could.  In its own small way, their actions demonstrate one of the finest qualities seafarers — the readiness to assist others who may be in peril.
The US Airways flight that had to ditch in the Hudson River back in January presents a similar example.  The plane’s pilot did a remarkable and heroic job to get the plane down, but once in the water, he and his passengers needed help.  The response of the New York Harbor mariners was unhesitating.  No less than 14 civilian craft with over 70 mariners aboard were ultimately involved in the rescue and provided exceptional assistance to the Coast Guard and other agencies involved.  One of the responding NY Waterways captains succinctly summed up the attitude of the responding mariners:  “If there’s anybody in distress in the water and you’re around, you have to go help — no matter what.•bCrLf
Whether it’s a dramatic, storm-tossed rescue in the nick of time or going to the aid of foundering vessel in calm circumstances, the professionalism of the Coast Guard SAR forces and the response of professional mariners on the scene have mitigated or averted what may have been a tragedy time and time again.  Equipment and training are essential to a successful SAR, but so are tradition and attitude.  An event such as the “rescue of 27 children from training ship•bCrLf reminds us of this.
Captain Bob Allee is an instructor at Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy, and the former Commandant at the USMMA with 31 years of Navy and Merchant Marine service.
By Professional Mariner Staff