SANDWICH (CBS) — The high seas and harsh conditions Jose is causing off the Massachusetts coast is creating an important opportunity for the Coast Guard. It’s letting them train under some of the toughest conditions they’ll have to tackle.
Coast Guardsmen from the Sandwich station went out Friday when other mariners are being told to stay in. They conducted “man overboard” drills under extremely rough conditions; 6 to 10 foot waves with winds of 20 to 30 miles an hour and gusting higher. The 45 foot boat was tossed by the swells.
“In the case of an emergency we’re going to need to know what it’s like, what it’s like to pick up a person, what it’s like to drive the boat in a situation like that,” says Petty Officer 3rd Class Evan Darcy.
They throw a life sized dummy overboard and immediately go to work. The coxswain driving the boat is in charge, maneuvering through the high seas, getting into position.
“I have to direct the crew on deck into their positions, make sure somebody always has an eye pointing to that person in the water,” says Executive Petty Officer Brett Arruda.
Meanwhile, exposed to the elements, the rescue crew works by hand, using a boat hook to grab the mannequin and haul it on board. While Jose has probably been called many horrible names, these men call it a training opportunity.
“There are still boaters out there. We want to be prepared if we go out, so we take full advantage of it,” says Coast Guard Chief Adam Murray.
The Coast Guard crew in Sandwich has been training under these conditions much of the week.