What does a rescue at sea look like?

In my years on the lobster boat in the Gulf of Maine, I was fortunate to have an extremely knowledgeable and cautious Captain. He knew when to turn around and head for shore, he knew how to handle himself and his boat when we encountered dangerous seas, and he knew how to respond when others were in distress.

Maine lobster boat with 70 knot winds approaching in Casco Bay. Image- Chris Shorr, BDN.

Maine lobster boat with 70 knot winds approaching in Casco Bay. Image- Chris Shorr, BDN.

Still, even the most experienced fisherman can find himself stuck in a storm with the right amount of bad luck, and when that happens they rely on the U.S. Coast Guard to save them.

The Gulf of Maine and the Bering Sea are typically regarded as the most deadly fishing waters in the world, but no matter where you go on the ocean you’re going to encounter danger.

In the U.K. and Ireland they have an organization called the Royal National Lifeboat Institution that has been around since the 1700’s and has saved more than 140 thousand lives in that time.

In my quest for interesting and amazing maritime news I stumbled upon this footage of an RNLI rescue that occurred off the coast of the U.K. this past April:

Thankfully everyone made it out of the ordeal alive, but it’s easy to see just how quickly and easily the ocean’s wrath can destroy boats and take lives.

If it weren’t for the expertise and bravery of the RNLI- along with other factors such as the survival suits that the fishermen are wearing in the footage and even something as simple as being able to grab onto each other when they get to the lifeboat- things could have easily ended differently.

I found the footage on a site called Humans at Sea. Here’s the explanation given by the RNLI on the site:

“This footage was recorded by our onboard camera this evening – gives you some sense of the terrifying ordeal suffered by the three fishermen who were brought to safety. Good job Nick Searls, Jim Grennan and Matthew Teehan and all the other volunteer crew members who were involved back in the station.”

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.