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Would You Support 14% Fewer Rescues?

Regardless of how you feel about the Trump administration’s ongoing shake-up of government agencies, you may take exception — as we do — to the proposed 14% cut in the US Coast Guard’s budget. 

Daytrippers from the fishing vessel Truline were undoubtedly pleased to be rescued by a cutter yesterday. 

© 2017 Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Simpson / USCG

As reader Steve Edwards points out, "Because the basic costs of maintaining bases and facilities is largely fixed, the decrease comes out of readiness training and actual operations. How would sailors be affected by a 28% decrease in USCG readiness and operations?"

That question is particularly relevant here in California, which ranks third in the nation for its number of registered boats. Due to the often-rough conditions within the Coast Guard’s 11th District — which includes San Francisco Bay and offshore waters — more rescues are performed here than in any other CG district. 

Here are a couple of examples of the Coast Guard’s recent work: 

On Friday, the Coast Guard received a distress call from the 33-ft sailboat Fascination somewhere off the Santa Barbara coast, which had lost its engine, had no GPS and was stuck in foggy, windless conditions. 

The Coast Guard ordered the Fascination to drop its anchor, while the owner (accompanied only by his dog) activated his Personal Locating Beacon, and set off flares at dawn. A Coast Guard helicopter located the sailboat at 8 a.m.

A 45-ft "response boat-medium" from Coast Guard Station Channel Islands towed the Fascination to Santa Barbara Harbor, where "operator and dog were reported to be in good condition." 

On Sunday, 25 passengers and crew were rescued from a charter fishing boat off San Clemente Island, after the vessel began taking on water. The 63-ft Truline reported hitting a submerged object, and radioed the Coast Guard around 3 a.m.

A helicopter, a 45-ft response boat-medium and the Cutter Sockeye were immediately dispatched (as well as a US Navy vessel). The Sockeye‘s crew stayed ahead of the flooding, and at 7 a.m., began to escort the Truline to Newport Beach.

Twenty passengers were eventually taken on board the Sockeye, and transported to San Pedro, while the Truline made it safely to Newport Beach shipyard.

Given the theoretical safety net that the CG provides to boaters of all stripes, we have a hard time believing there aren’t more appropriate places for government belt-tightening. If you have a strong opinion either way, we’d love to hear from you.

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