Fishermen lose a day to visiting CG vessel

2011-06-09T11:00:00Z Fishermen lose a day to visiting CG vesselBy Gail Elber, The World Coos Bay World
June 09, 2011 11:00 am  • 

Early Wednesday morning, Jack Kirk, captain of the fishing vessel Dragonet, woke up in his boat near a school of salmon -- and an unfamiliar 418-foot Coast Guard cutter.

By 10 a.m., for him and three other fishermen in the area, the fishing day was a total loss. Crewmen from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Waesche, a cutter based in Alameda, Calif., had conducted routine safety boardings -- but, Kirk said, they did it unskillfully, in bad weather, damaging boats and gear.

Damage and danger

Coast Guard personnel routinely board vessels for safety inspections. But Wednesday's inspections actually increased danger, Kirk said.

Kirk complained that the boarding boat dinged his vessel when it approached in heavy seas. He said it carried off trolling gear from another boat, the Lansing, despite captain John Moir's entreaty to wait until he hauled it in. Moir didn't return a call Wednesday.

Vessel owners schedule dockside inspections with the Coast Guard every year, but also are subject to safety inspections on the water at any time. And when the fish are biting, time is money.

It was the clumsy boarding of ships in bad weather that irritated fishermen Wednesday, said Kirk.

'The kids that they're making do this are in harm's way," Kirk said. 'To watch them do it, you'd think they are out of their minds."

Inspections are routine

According to USCGC Waesche's website, the ship, commissioned in May 2010, is still undergoing 'operational testing and evaluation, combat systems qualification, tailored ships training, and deployment work-ups." It carries a crew of 109 to 143, depending on its mission.

Petty Officer Shawn Eggert, public affairs officer for USCG Sector Columbia River at Warrenton, confirmed that damage claim forms were distributed to the fishermen this morning and will be 'reviewed and investigated."

For security reasons, he said, he couldn't release any information about the Waesche's schedule. But he said it wasn't a training exercise -- just routine safety boardings. 'We wouldn't train for boardings by doing boardings," he said.

Eggert acknowledged that damage sometimes occurs, especially during bad weather. 'We don't have the intention to go out there and screw up these guys' livelihoods," he said.

'We're doing our job, and they're doing theirs."

That was no consolation to Kirk, who resented the loss of a day of salmon fishing.

'Yesterday, I made a few thousand dollars," he said.

But Wednesday morning, like the three other fishermen in the area, he just went back to port.

Reporter Gail Elber can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 234, or at

Copyright 2015 Coos Bay World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(21) Comments

  1. Tman
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    Tman - June 16, 2011 3:32 am
    Since I have probably saved more than one fisherman you know personally, I can tell you it takes a little more than "flipping a switch". :-)
  2. orecoast007
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    orecoast007 - June 14, 2011 5:19 pm
    Polar Bear, At one of the fish plants...........So why is there no one FISHERMAN out there working on the whiting season....Let me geuss it is the fault of th CG again....
  3. dan milburn
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    dan milburn - June 14, 2011 1:20 pm
    The real common sense:
    Yep! Did you know that they can program their helicopter with GPS coordinates and the helicopter can fly automaticaly to your location and drop a rescue basket - without a pilot? And return to the Airport and hover? Yeah, I still call them boy scouts with guns but just the newbies. The others like Mcadams, Putman and more are at the top of my prayer list everytime I visit the memorial in Charleston. PS The pilot is needed to flip the on-switch.
  4. skookum
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    skookum - June 14, 2011 12:11 pm
    im with the government im here to help
  5. The Real Common Sense
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    The Real Common Sense - June 14, 2011 9:41 am
    dan milburn said: "I commercial fished for a while. Boy scouts with guns is what we called the coast guard. [quote}]

    If your boat was sinking, did you still call the Coast Guard Helicopter crews boy scouts with guns? Or would you be excited to see them?
  6. dan milburn
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    dan milburn - June 13, 2011 8:04 pm
    I commercial fished for a while. Boy scouts with guns is what we called the coast guard. The standard operation procedure would have been to deploy a zodiac to board with. Oops. Training? In 1990 the Coast Guard 30 footer pulled aside and lashed horizontaly to a fishing boat at Hallmarks to tow up the bay. The "skipper" decided to show how he could do a 360 degree manuever with the boat. Once - ok. Second time - he stalled a drifted into the Charleston Bridge. It closed the bridge for 48 hours
  7. Polar Bear
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    Polar Bear - June 13, 2011 1:08 pm
    Commercial fishing is about as REAL as you can get and Coosbayite is right, not many men could or would do it, in calm seas or rough ones.
    I haven't heard from you "orecoast007", what is your job? From the label you use, I guess you fancy yourself a spy right ?
  8. Polar Bear
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    Polar Bear - June 11, 2011 6:06 pm
    The Coast Guard said it was not a TRAINING SESSION, so why did they do it when the sea was so rough that day, just asking for problems.
    But I do appreciate the Coast Guard for all that they do in helping people. And I know they put their lives at risk doing it.
  9. outdoorsman1
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    outdoorsman1 - June 11, 2011 10:58 am
    Safety checks should be done before the start of the season to avoid problems like this. Any days missed by 'boarding' inspections during the season should be compensated by the average day(catch)of that vessel.
    @forgot-WOW, REALLY? Doesn't mean it's right to do that no matter your skewed rationel.
    @ore007-you tool, go comment somewhere else you unhappy person.
  10. coosbayite
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    coosbayite - June 10, 2011 3:38 pm
    Hey forgot, you quit winning. You sit on your worthless butt while the rest of us feed you.
  11. coosbayite
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    coosbayite - June 10, 2011 3:37 pm
    After reading these comments I can't help but leave a note. I would say that there aren't 1% of you that could work as a commercial fisherman. So, don't sit on your fat a**** and judge what you don't know the first thing about. A "real job"? Any "real" job wouldn't even begin to compare with working on a boat in calm seas let alone rough water.
  12. Kay
    Report Abuse
    Kay - June 10, 2011 1:43 pm
    Polar Bear said: "OREGONCOAST007, What do you think a "real job" is ? What is your job ? Just curious !"

    This will take him a few days. Hard to get a hold of Glenn Beck on the weekend. Don't worry fishermen, "OREGONCOAST007" doesn't speak for the rest of us.

    He just heard somethin and ran with it. Has no idea what he's against, just heard he should be against somethin.
  13. DHCollins
    Report Abuse
    DHCollins - June 10, 2011 1:41 pm
    So much disrespect here. I doubt the vessel was aware they were sitting on top of the fish at the time this was going on. But I will fault the CG as well. A vessel this large in these waters is intimidating, and it just sends the wrong big brother message. They should have came into port first and let us have a tour of the Waesche so as to introduce themselves. We paid for the ship after all. x
  14. Eastsider
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    Eastsider - June 10, 2011 12:04 pm
    I am a former Coast Guard Boatsawin's Mate (Cape D) and we were regularly accused of the same thing, including being jack-booted thugs and threatening crews at gun point. Bogus then, bogus now.

    Semper Paratus!
  15. snapguy
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    snapguy - June 10, 2011 11:19 am
    Fishermen have real jobs, they are very difficult. Being in the right spot at the right time is a key to success. If Kirk can show documentation in the form of receipts for earnings on the trip, and if the USCG did indeed cause him to lose a day's earnings, he is entitled to file claim for the losses. And, if damage was done to his vessel, or if gear were lost due to USCG actions he can add in those amounts.
  16. realitybites
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    realitybites - June 10, 2011 11:04 am
    If a vessel has a current safety inspection sticker, the USCG should leave it alone.
    Referring to vessel owners as whiners is uncalled for.
    Many of us have written letters and testified on behalf of the Coast Guard when federal lawmakers tried to cut the Coast Guard budget.
    However, in a time of trillion dollar deficits, uncalled-for boardings, and unprecedented government arrogance, maybe we won't support the Coast Guard when Congress tries to cut their budget next time. Who'll whine then?
  17. Polar Bear
    Report Abuse
    Polar Bear - June 10, 2011 10:09 am
    OREGONCOAST007, What do you think a "real job" is ? What is your job ? Just curious !
  18. Forgot
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    Forgot - June 10, 2011 7:32 am
    As a Coast Guard veteran, I would like to say that these whining skippers would have no complaints about the CG if they started taking on water 6 miles out in a storm and have to call for help. Unbelieveable. So the Boatswain Mate had a hard time controlling his small boat in rough seas, bet you'd be singing a different tune if he tapped your boat trying to come alongside to rescue your crew and save your whining butts.

    Semper Paratus!
  19. hiluix
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    hiluix - June 09, 2011 4:13 pm
    US Coast Guard , sticking its nose into your business since 1790 .
  20. orecoast007
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    orecoast007 - June 09, 2011 12:12 pm
    Those fisherman can call 1-800-BOO-HOOOO to place their complaints......... Get real jobs.........
  21. tsunami
    Report Abuse
    tsunami - June 09, 2011 11:35 am
    captain kirk should have fired proton torpedos
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