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Wed, Sep 21, 2022

U.S. Coast Guard New Orleans Sector Rescues Boaters—and Dog

A Text in Time

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is a renowned and mercurial outfit, serving contemporaneously as a maritime security, search and rescue, law enforcement, diplomatic, combat, and humanitarian force. It is the largest and most powerful coast guard in the world, rivaling the fleet size and capabilities of most navies.

During peacetime, the service operates under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. During times of war, however, the Coast Guard and its assets may be transferred in whole or in part to the U.S. Department of the Navy by order of the U.S. President or by act of Congress.

As a humanitarian service, the Coast Guard saves thousands of lives every year—most recently, those of two boaters and a dog rescued from a capsized vessel near Slidell, Louisiana on 18 September 2022.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard’s New Orleans-based 8th District—the service’s largest geographical sector responsible for USCG operations in 26 U.S. states—were notified by dispatchers from the St. Bernard Parish Police Department that an individual within the department’s jurisdiction had received a text message from a family member requesting the Coast Guard respond to an emergency on Lake Borgne—a lagoon of the Gulf of Mexico in southeastern Louisiana.

New Orleans Watchstanders subsequently coordinated the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew to assist the distressed boaters.

The MH-60 Jayhawk is a multi-mission, twin-engine, medium-range helicopter deriving of Sikorsky’s S-70 family of aircraft. The machine is based on the United States Navy’s SH-60 Seahawk, but is in fact lighter, faster, better equipped, and—by dint of its twin, 1,890-SHP, General Electric T700-GE-401C gas turbines—more powerful than its forebear.

The Coast Guard Jayhawk aircrew arrived at Lake Borgne and observed an overturned 21-foot center-console boat with two persons and one dog stranded on its hull. The Jayhawk aircrew embarked one of the boaters onto the helicopter, while a USCG rescue swimmer—a highly-trained rescue specialist charged with the rescue, assessment, and rendering of medical aid to persons in distress—remained in the water, rendering assistance until a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries boat-crew arrived on scene and embarked the remaining boater and the dog aboard their vessel.

The victims, human and canine alike, were transported to Hopedale Marina, where they were met by emergency medical services personnel. All are reportedly in stable condition.

USCG Chief Warrant Officer and Sector New Orleans command duty officer Tricia Eldredge remarked: "With no other means of communication, the text was the only way we could have known the boaters were out there. The Coast Guard continues to urge the boating public to have proper communication equipment like VHF radios and locating devices such as emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) or subscription based satellite communication devices to broadcast one's location in emergencies like this."

FMI: www.uscg.mil


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