Coast Guard Auxiliary crew honored for rescue at Port Canaveral
Two patrol boats practice side towing during training operations. Towing and other rescue and life-saving skills are routinely practiced — always to U.S. Coast Guard standards — by Auxiliary boat crews throughout the Indian River Lagoon estuary system.
SENIOR LIFE Courtesy of Bill Cox, Flotilla 17-6
Four U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary members from Flotilla 17-6 received one of the highest awards ever given to the auxiliary in Brevard County.
The honor was the U.S. Coast Guard’s distinguished Award of Operational Merit for a successful lifesaving rescue at Port Canaveral that occurred in May.
Auxiliary members from Flotilla 17-6 Rick Bloom, John Holmes, Robert Caldo and Robert DiCicco received the award last month for the rescue of boaters who were in the path of a cargo ship that had no time to change its course.
A large tanker assisted by two tugboats was on a collision course with a recreational boat that had stalled in its path in mid channel as the ship entered Port Canaveral.
When it could not stop in time, the tanker sounded five short blasts on their ship’s horn. The alarm caught the attention of the Coast Guard Auxiliary crew on patrol in the port. Within two minutes, the Auxiliary Patrol Boat Dream On was alongside the stranded bowrider with two boaters onboard. The stalled boat quickly was towed out of harm’s way to the Jetty Park boat ramp.
“We train constantly for various emergency scenarios,” said Robert DiCiccio, the patrol’s commander and the auxiliary coxswain. “The port in particular is a very complex environment. The danger is always present, especially when you mix commercial vessels and recreational boats on a busy Saturday afternoon.”