Surviving the Marine Environment

Discuss survival and preparedness strategies. What will you do when the zombies come to get us?

Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby VACoastie » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 11:57:14

Well, this past week I've been pretty busy. Having work the past 6 out of 7 days 12+ hours each day it's been taking a toll on me mentally and physically. However it hasn't been all for naught. I've had the tremendous experience that my job offers me and that I love hands down of rescuing a group of people. These weren't just your run of the mill recreation boater though.

06 April 2013

There were 4 folks in an ocean going research rowing vessel when approximately 380 Nautical Miles North of San Juan, Puerto Rico they ran into disaster. 0615 watch shift commenced and 02 of the persons were settling into the sleeping quarters on the 29 Foot "James Robert Hanssen." One other crew member was taking care of those lovely morning rushes in the toilet area, and the other crew member (and the Captain) was rowing and keeping course. Seas were normal for them, 5 - 6 feet, when all of a sudden 2 odd sets of waves (5-6 feet also) came in. The first wave tipped there row boat forward and as the boat was getting corrected the second wave come down and capsized the vessel.

The design of the boat is to have it self-right (basically flip upside down and pop back up right). However, the 2 crew members settling in for sleep had not quite shut the door at this time and the compartment filled with water and kept the vessel from coming upright. This is when their SHTF. All four crewmembers were able to escape from the boat and they activated their PLB's (Personal Locator Beacon) at approximately 0628 local and I received the report at 0630. Their PLB's were registered in the NOAA database which assisted me in getting in touch with people who knew them quickly and confirmed that they were taking a rowing trip across the Atlantic Ocean for scientific research purposes. As I was calling and talking to people, more PLB's registered to the vessel kept coming in and I knew that there was definitely trouble without actually having a true confirmation of distress.

It was then about 10 minutes after the initial PLB went off that I directed my crew to broadcast a distress broadcast to mariners of HF 2182 KHz (High Frequency voice channel) and I sent out a type of text message to all mariners within 200 NM's (Nautical Miles). I also launched a fixed wing aircraft that we had at our Air Station to get there ASAP. With this in place I also got to work contacting vessels in the area seeing who was closest and sending them to the area to assist with the pick-up of survivors should they be located. I also coordinated with an Air station in Clearwater, FL. to receive a HC-130 long range aircraft to relieve my HC-144 so I could have constant air coverage.

At approximately 1300 my aircraft was overhead and located the James Robert Hanssen capsized and a liferaft about 75 feet from the boat with 2 survivors present. At 1400 the C-130 came on scene as the HC-144 had to depart and dropped them a survival can with radio, survival rations and water. The survivors came up on the radio and confirmed that all persons were safe. At 1800 local (12 hrs and 20 minutes after initially going in the water) the survivors were picked up by the M/V HEIJIN that I initially sent to the location and made their way back to San Juan, Puerto Rico where they hit dry land at 2000 local on the 7th of April.

Now, I usually give survivor debriefs over the phone or by e-mail after a case has happened, but this was quite a unique case and my Command knew it would get some (now a lot) of media interest and asked me to conduct a debrief with the survivors in person. Come to find out, these guys were prepp'd beyond belief.

They 04 PLB's, all registered which made communication easy and finding particulars on their vessel easy.
They had a life raft in which to survive in.
They had multiple means of Communications on the boat - VHF, Satellite comms, GPS tracking, AIS tracking.
They had food rations to last them 100 days on the boat, and at the time of capsizing had 40-50 days of food available and easily accessible even though the vessel was upside down.

Moral of the story? It's better to have it and not need it than not have it and need it. Make sure you KNOW how to use your equipment, make sure your equipment works, and if it has any way to attach contact information, ADD IT. It saved these guys lives and got them help quickly even being in the middle of the Atlantic. We're off of Search and Rescue mode now for the case, but I'm sparing my personal time now to help these guys retrieve their boat and locate it. Today they're taking a charted jet up and are going to attempt to locate it and then within 2-3 days try to have another boat on scene to retrieve the vessel. We'll see how that goes. I've worked a lot of cases in my 8 years so far, but this one by far has been one of the best for some reason unknown to me at this point. Below is some pictures taken of the guys during the rescue and afterwards.
Capsized Boat.jpg
Capsized Boat.jpg (13.08 KiB) Viewed 1945 times

Boat and life raft.jpg
Boat and life raft.jpg (20.58 KiB) Viewed 1945 times

Survivors.jpg
Survivors.jpg (121.49 KiB) Viewed 1945 times


Active, Reserve or Veteran of the United States Coast Guard   National Rifle Association (NRA) Member   Gun Owners of America (GOA) Member  
User avatar
VACoastie
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed, 16 May 2012 14:16:13
Location: Currently - Suffolk, VA
First Name: Chris

My Arsenal:
9MM Beretta PX4 Storm
Marlin60 .22 LR
Remington 1100 12 Gauge
S&W .38 Special

Next Firearm:
AR Platform

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby VACoastie » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 11:58:13

Me with Survivors.jpg
Me with Survivors.jpg (136.51 KiB) Viewed 1941 times


Active, Reserve or Veteran of the United States Coast Guard   National Rifle Association (NRA) Member   Gun Owners of America (GOA) Member  
User avatar
VACoastie
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed, 16 May 2012 14:16:13
Location: Currently - Suffolk, VA
First Name: Chris

My Arsenal:
9MM Beretta PX4 Storm
Marlin60 .22 LR
Remington 1100 12 Gauge
S&W .38 Special

Next Firearm:
AR Platform

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby Reverenddel » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 12:46:41

Nicely done!

Agreed on the "have, not need, than need, not have" thought!


National Rifle Association (NRA) Member   Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) Member   Gun Owners of America (GOA) Member  
User avatar
Reverenddel
VGOF Gold Supporter
VGOF Gold Supporter
 
Posts: 6403
Joined: Mon, 14 Dec 2009 13:43:00
Location: Central VA
First Name: Carl

My Arsenal:
Nothing, not a damnedable thing.

Next Firearm:
Nothing, not a damnedable thing.

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby ShotgunBlast » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 12:55:15

Great job Coastie!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


User avatar
ShotgunBlast
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 3222
Joined: Sat, 17 Mar 2012 20:46:31
Location: Richmond
First Name: Michael

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby dusterdude » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 18:59:38

Oh,when you said marine enviroment i thought you meant parris island.my palms started sweating again,whew


Active, Reserve or Veteran of the United States Marine Corps  
User avatar
dusterdude
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 1186
Joined: Thu, 08 Nov 2012 11:25:36

My Arsenal:
bersa 380,taurus pt145 and m1 garand

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby VACoastie » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 20:21:18

Nah duster, Marines wouldn't be able to survive my type of environment =P hehe

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image


Active, Reserve or Veteran of the United States Coast Guard   National Rifle Association (NRA) Member   Gun Owners of America (GOA) Member  
User avatar
VACoastie
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed, 16 May 2012 14:16:13
Location: Currently - Suffolk, VA
First Name: Chris

My Arsenal:
9MM Beretta PX4 Storm
Marlin60 .22 LR
Remington 1100 12 Gauge
S&W .38 Special

Next Firearm:
AR Platform

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby Domino » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 20:29:55

Great job! You guys rock.

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image


User avatar
Domino
Marksman
Marksman
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 20:45:17

My Arsenal:
Ruger 10/22
Ruger LC9
Remington 1911 R1 SS

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby GeneFrenkle » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 20:55:50

Great job, coastie. But, a row boat? a research rowboat? a big 4$$ research rowboat with a downstairs? what did they research? is the boat recoverable?

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image
And if Bruce Dickinson wants more cowbell, we should probably give him more cowbell!


User avatar
GeneFrenkle
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 1739
Joined: Sun, 23 Jan 2011 19:19:07

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby Palladin » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 23:19:48

Ah, they woulda been fine! That one dude looks like Stoic's 1st cousin... :)


:clap: Congrats and attaboys all around!
Now is the time for all good men to get off their rusty dustys...


User avatar
Palladin
VGOF Platinum Supporter
VGOF Platinum Supporter
 
Posts: 4154
Joined: Mon, 05 Oct 2009 22:06:43
Location: Louisa
First Name: Glen

My Arsenal:
Wrist Rocket and a pocket full of 00buck...

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby dusterdude » Fri, 12 Apr 2013 14:26:44

VACoastie wrote:Nah duster, Marines wouldn't be able to survive my type of environment =P hehe

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image

Lol


Active, Reserve or Veteran of the United States Marine Corps  
User avatar
dusterdude
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 1186
Joined: Thu, 08 Nov 2012 11:25:36

My Arsenal:
bersa 380,taurus pt145 and m1 garand

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby Gotlabs » Fri, 12 Apr 2013 22:51:53

I miss SAR. Good job.

The last SAR conference I attended was years ago and USCG and NOAA were working on a complete SARSAT type EPIRB/ELT. Is that system up and running?

I was fortunate enough to work with USCG in Astoria OR and loved every minute of it. Did I mention that I miss SAR?

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image


Active, Reserve or Veteran of the United States Marine Corps   National Rifle Association (NRA) Member  
User avatar
Gotlabs
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed, 12 Dec 2012 13:46:49
Location: LGVA
First Name: Tim

My Arsenal:
single shot 22.

Next Firearm:
double barrel 22

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby VACoastie » Sat, 13 Apr 2013 09:22:07

GotLabs, must have been a while back when you did SAR last! I believe the system has been in place since the early 90's now. It used to monitor both 406 and 121.5 but now they've just bumped it down to 406 because there's too much jumbo and false alerts with that frequency. Microwaves tend to give off the frequency funny enough. So now we just 406 MHz and they're up to using 3 channels now because so many beaons are out there. That's the system that we received the first PLB hit on. Same thing as an EPIRB/ELT it's just in a smaller package fitted for life jackets and parachutes.

In essence yeah it was a big ass row oat. 29 feet in length, had a stern cabin for sleeping quarters and a bow cabin that housed equipment and necessities. It looks kind of funky if you google an image of James Robert Hanssen you'll find it. They were researching for the Canadian Wildlife Foundation a whole slew of things, density of the sea water, currents, conditions, pH levels, animal life, and much more. It's a one of a kind research vessel but they do stuff in high detail

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image


Active, Reserve or Veteran of the United States Coast Guard   National Rifle Association (NRA) Member   Gun Owners of America (GOA) Member  
User avatar
VACoastie
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed, 16 May 2012 14:16:13
Location: Currently - Suffolk, VA
First Name: Chris

My Arsenal:
9MM Beretta PX4 Storm
Marlin60 .22 LR
Remington 1100 12 Gauge
S&W .38 Special

Next Firearm:
AR Platform

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby GeneFrenkle » Sat, 13 Apr 2013 09:40:31

They were at sea for 73 days... in a rowboat.

> Spooner, who was crew member when the team rowed the boat across the North Atlantic in 2006, called the crew’s families.Read more here: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/adventur ... rylink=cpy

Right now, I'm thinking Viking awesomeness.

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image
And if Bruce Dickinson wants more cowbell, we should probably give him more cowbell!


User avatar
GeneFrenkle
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 1739
Joined: Sun, 23 Jan 2011 19:19:07

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby VACoastie » Sat, 13 Apr 2013 10:38:43

The guys were super cool. Greg is their Mission Control type guy, he's made the trip across the Atlantic a few years back when they did it then. Adam Kreek one of the team members is a 2008 gold Olympian, Marcus is their film maker and Patrick has SAR experience with the park service. Jordan has made the trip previously and is their captain. He's actually Oma tug boat now to go retrieve the boat. They located it with a drift I gave them with a charted jet so hopefully they can find it again. Would be crazy if my measurements came spot on 3 put of 3 times for these guys. I'm going the best for em.

They kinda are like Vikings too haha. They're big dudes, 6'5 and at least 250.

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image


Active, Reserve or Veteran of the United States Coast Guard   National Rifle Association (NRA) Member   Gun Owners of America (GOA) Member  
User avatar
VACoastie
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed, 16 May 2012 14:16:13
Location: Currently - Suffolk, VA
First Name: Chris

My Arsenal:
9MM Beretta PX4 Storm
Marlin60 .22 LR
Remington 1100 12 Gauge
S&W .38 Special

Next Firearm:
AR Platform

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby Gotlabs » Sat, 13 Apr 2013 17:10:55

It was 2001, and the more I think about it the more it was going to the 406 beacon. The civilain dude was talking way over my head about the whole system, so I didnt pay much attention to the presentation. We worked with USCG Savannah/Charleston all the time, great group of folks for sure. I left the SAR community in 04 to return to the FMF, but the 4 yrs I spent at Beaufort SAR was my favorite time in the Corps to date.

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image


Active, Reserve or Veteran of the United States Marine Corps   National Rifle Association (NRA) Member  
User avatar
Gotlabs
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed, 12 Dec 2012 13:46:49
Location: LGVA
First Name: Tim

My Arsenal:
single shot 22.

Next Firearm:
double barrel 22

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby VACoastie » Sun, 14 Apr 2013 13:49:35

Charleston - Civilian... Was his name Greg or George or something to that tune? There was a civilian out there who recently retired who schooled me big time on 406's and gave me tons more knowledge than most people could ever care for with 406's. Then that knowledge turned me into the local EPIRB/ELT/PLB guru and I started doing hardcore data collection and research on our own 406's gathered and cases worked. I haven't spoken with him in 2 years since he retired so now I go direct to Coast Guard SAR Headquarters. They actually heard about this case and reached out to me so I can write an article for the magazine ON SCENE - of course I'm more than happy to do so.

That's cool though - glad to see there's someone here who also has some knowledge in the field and worked some stuff. I'm kind of surprised that it's so few and far between who've dealt with Search and Rescue.


Active, Reserve or Veteran of the United States Coast Guard   National Rifle Association (NRA) Member   Gun Owners of America (GOA) Member  
User avatar
VACoastie
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed, 16 May 2012 14:16:13
Location: Currently - Suffolk, VA
First Name: Chris

My Arsenal:
9MM Beretta PX4 Storm
Marlin60 .22 LR
Remington 1100 12 Gauge
S&W .38 Special

Next Firearm:
AR Platform

Re: Surviving the Marine Environment

Postby Gotlabs » Sun, 14 Apr 2013 17:13:01

It was active Coastie. I can't remember exactly who we dealt with, but IIRC through Charleston we usually only recieved current and drift speed info for our searches. We did deal with boat guys but usually for training doing boat hoist etc. Most of our coordination was with the helo dudes since that is what we were. The Savannah aviation dudes just rotated out in Charleston daily. Our primary mission was MCAS Braufort but we did get a few rescues from the Coasties, but they were few and far between.

Thats really cool they contacted you about doing a article.

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image


Active, Reserve or Veteran of the United States Marine Corps   National Rifle Association (NRA) Member  
User avatar
Gotlabs
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed, 12 Dec 2012 13:46:49
Location: LGVA
First Name: Tim

My Arsenal:
single shot 22.

Next Firearm:
double barrel 22



Return to Survival and Emergency Preparedness (SHTF)

Who is online

Registered users: CrazySanMan, Google [Bot], hanken, jpmuscle, MSN [Bot], Quigley

cron
Please Support
Our Sponsors