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Flotilla 054-03-03
 Kilmarnock, Virginia

 

 

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ARCHIVE

RAPPAHANNOCK "10" ACCIDENT - 05JUL10

 

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NEWS ARTICLE ARCHIVE

 

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FLOTILLA 33 MEMBER DAVID POPE & WIFE CHARMAINE CONDUCT RESCUE ON 05MAR10 WHILE SAILING IN THE BAHAMAS

dream_catcher

Photo of "Dream Catcher" on the Rappahannock River.

David Pope, a member of United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 33 in Kilmarnock, recently used his Auxiliary training and knowledge to perform a rescue at sea and save a fellow sailor’s life.

On March 5th, after leaving Cave Cay Marina in Exuma, Bahamas, and about 15 miles from George Town, Great Exuma, David overhead a panicky distress radio call from the sailing vessel  “Lady Hawk” requesting assistance because the Captain fell overboard.  The caller, the captain’s wife, now alone on the sailboat in 6 foot seas was pulling away from her husband because she could not get the sails down.  To make matters worse, the Captain did not have on a life jacket!

 David and his wife Charmine were able to locate the man overboard. “Charmaine continued to point to him and maintain eye contact until we got close.” They were then able to rescue the Captain with some difficult maneuvering due to the poor wind & sea conditions. “The Captain was exhausted from being in the rough seas for over 30 minutes, so it took several attempts to get the sailor on board,” commented David.

The next thing we had to do was get “Lady Hawk” under control. Instructions were given on how to get the sail down and engage the autopilot. After resting, the Captain donned a life jacket, and with a line around him he was able to transfer to the trailing dingy and pulled onto his sailboat. After following the “Lady Hawk” into George Town Harbor, David and Charmine enjoyed a dinner together with the Captain and his wife.

“It was very lucky that we were close by and David is such an experienced sailor,” said Charmine. “Also his Search & Rescue training with Flotilla 33 was a huge benefit.  Otherwise, the results could have been much different.”

In reviewing the day’s events during dinner, a number of actions were discussed. “There are some important points of information learned from this rescue,” said Pope. “The Captain’s wife had taken some basic sailing lessons and knew to immediately hit the ‘Man Overboard’ button on the GPS, use the marine radio to call for help, and to not take her eyes off of him. 

“I recommended that all people on any boat be able to handle the helm in case someone falls overboard, especially a couple sailing alone,” continued David. "In talking about the event, we learned that the Captain fell overboard trying to adjust his dingy that was getting beaten about due to sea conditions. The fact that he was not wearing a life jacket was just dangerous.”

Luckily all ended well. David Pope’s experience in sailing and his search & rescue and man overboard training and experience with Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 33 allowed him to keep a cool head, affect a difficult rescue, and saved this from becoming a tragedy at sea.

Bravo Zulu Dave & Charmaine!

 

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