Friday, November 16, 2012

Crowley Tug Crew Rescues Drowning Swimmer

The crew of Crowley Maritime’s tugboat Guard recently performed a rescue of a man who was struggling to stay afloat in the waters outside of San Francisco Bay, the company revealed Nov. 12.

The rescue took place during the early morning hours of Wed., Oct. 31, while the tugboat was standing by outside the Golden Gate Bridge, waiting to escort a tanker into San Francisco Bay’s anchorage. Perry Overton, captain of the Guard, noticed the man treading water a little more than a mile and a half from the bridge. The crew tossed the man a life ring and Crowley Chief Engineer Keith Madding donned a survival suit and entered the 55-degree waters to help the fatigued man climb the Guard’s emergency ladder. Once aboard, the crew removed the hypothermic man’s wet clothing and wrapped him in warm blankets until the Coast Guard arrived and could perform other life-saving treatments.

Following the rescue, the Guard resumed escort duties on the tanker, bringing it to its destination as scheduled.

“In the 20-plus years of my career, I have never seen such a professional rescue by non-professional-rescuers,” Ranger Shannon Jay of the National Park Service at Golden Gate National Parks, who is assisting the San Francisco Police Department in the investigation of this incident, said of the Crowley crew. “They are true heroes.”

The Guard’s crew has been nominated by the National Park Service for a Citizen’s Award for Bravery, which is an honor awarded by the secretary of the interior in Washington DC.

“On behalf of everyone here at Crowley, I want to congratulate this brave crew for putting their training to good use to perform the vital measures needed to save this man’s life,” Rocky Smith, a Crowley senior vice president and general manager, said. “These crewmembers are true heroes and deserve to be recognized for their service.”

The crew aboard the Guard is trained to respond to a variety of incidents through the Crowley Safety Program, a custom training event designed exclusively for mariners that provides training in cold-water survival tactics, shipboard fire fighting, medical incidents and other relevant topics.