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August 5, 2007 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Top 10 rescue videos from the US Coastguard, which celebrated its birthday by announcing it has saved 1,109,310 lives in its 217-year existence.
posted by dersins (7 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'd be surprised if any of the Coasties in these vids ever have to buy their own drinks.

Because they sure as shit shouldn't have to.
posted by Cyrano at 9:39 AM on August 5, 2007

Now that the USCG is a wing of of the Department of Homeland Security, their resources have grown, but so has the amount of bureaucracy and mission-drift that they have to deal with. And the ambitious upgrade to their search-and-rescue and direction-finding capabilities promised years ago -- Rescue 21 -- is still unfinished, particularly on the West Coast.

[self-link warning]
The Coast Guard played a heroic (if sadly fruitless) role in the search for Jim Gray, which I wrote about recently in Wired and was FPP'd earlier this month. I was really impressed by the deputy commander of the San Francisco sector, David Swatland, who I interviewed at the USCG command center on Yerba Buena Island, feeling like we were talking in some secret James Bond submarine base under the Bay Bridge. If I ever get lost at sea, I want Swatland looking for me, though he didn't find Gray in the end.
posted by digaman at 9:59 AM on August 5, 2007

You're right. When I was in New Bedford (Ma. major fishing port and fleet) we literally could never "pay" for a beer.

Ironically, there was an incident around 1970 when a cutter doing a fisheries inspection of a Russian trawler had two Russians jump aboard and claim asylum. The crew of the cutter searched the ship and "couldn't find the Russian fisherman"; HQ told the Captain to let the Russians search the cutter and they did find and detain them.

Allowing Russians (allegedy some sort of political police) to search an American warship raised a shitestorm. we were told to wear civvies and keep a low profile until it blew over.

Happily, it blew over and we were back to free beers and free towing for a decrepit fishing fleet (the boat owners never spent anything on maintence while the Coast Guard towed for free.

Icebreakers, that's where i thought i wanted to be. Ice, how pure and simple can you get.!
posted by lemuel at 3:25 PM on August 5, 2007

Only Nixon could let Russians search a US warship. (Old Vulcan proverb.)
posted by dhartung at 5:18 PM on August 5, 2007

Thanks for posting this. I'll watch it when I get home from work today, seeing as it's blocked here.

The Coast Guard still stands as one of the best things I ever did with my life. It had its downsides, but overall I have no real regrets. Rather, I have a lot of good things to look back on.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:26 AM on August 6, 2007

Hats off Coasties, Good work. Only branch of the military I've ever considered joining. I'll buy any of you a beer any time.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:08 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

A girlfriend and I were rescued once. The Coast Guard sailors were strong, bright-eyed young guys who picked up our heavily loaded kayaks and ourselves, dropped us off at the dock, and went back to watching the game. We sent cookies later. Very professional, very impressive. And free! For me, anyway.
posted by atchafalaya at 3:14 PM on August 6, 2007

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