Coast Guard Cutter Active and its crew returned to their home port in Port Angeles, Saturday after a 56-day deployment off the Pacific Northwest Coast.
Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, the crew of the Active continues to operate, executing all statutory missions. Throughout the patrol, the crew followed strict guidance and donned personal protective equipment to safeguard the public and the community upon their return to home port.
Active covered over 7,300 miles patrolling the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the Oregon and Washington coasts. As part of ‘Operation Pacific Fortune,’ the crew boarded over 40 commercial fishing vessels to ensure compliance with U.S. fishery and maritime safety laws. The boarding teams made on-the-spot corrections with the vessel captains whenever possible and issued violations when needed. These enforcement actions are critical to safeguard the Pacific Northwest commercial fishing industry, which generates $500 million for the U.S. economy each year, as well as fuels three of the nation’s top 15 landing ports. The crew helped promote responsible fishing practices and ensured safety amongst those who live and work on the seas.
Working with the Coast Guard afloat training office in Everett, the crew completed a fast-paced, multi-week training battery with ‘all hands on deck.’ They practiced over 96 drills, responding to various contingencies, including simulated fires and flooding to the towing of disabled vessels. Every two years Coast Guard cutters go through a standardized evaluation process against objective performance standards and best practices from the fleet.
The training paid off as the crew of the Active was called upon to respond to disabled vessels during the patrol. In both cases, the crew sprang into action and rendered immediate assistance to the mariners in distress. The crew’s actions ensured two people aboard a recreational vessel and four people on a commercial fishing vessel made it home to safe harbor. The latter rescue required an overnight tow over 80 miles offshore.
“As the pandemic wears on, this crew continues to redefine what I understand as ‘resilience,’” said Cmdr. James O’Mara, commanding officer of the Active. “Going to sea, living in tight quarters, enduring tedious, but necessary protocols inport and underway – this crew does it all to stay healthy, protect the public, and perform our missions at sea for the taxpayer. Even after this busy summer transfer season with 30% personnel turnover, I was amazed at how quickly the team came together for such a productive patrol. This crew is rock solid, top notch.”
The current 210-foot Cutter Active is the eighth Coast Guard vessel to bear its proud name. Launched in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on July 31, 1965, the ship was officially commissioned as a Coast Guard Cutter on Sept.1, 1966.