Responding to calls for help which can lead to saving someone’s life is part of the job description for Sea Tow Crystal Coast (North Carolina) Captains Raven Bolster and Zachary Willis. These Captains and their crews earned multiple awards at Sea Tow’s annual meeting in Orlando November 14-17 “For Going Above and Beyond” and saving lives while working together to keep boaters around Cape Lookout safe when help is needed.
Saving a Shrimper
In one notable incident for which the Captains receive an “Efforts Above and Beyond” award, a call came on November 12, 2015 to aid an injured person on the 90-foot shrimping vessel Tamara Lane. The distress call stated that a 19-year-old had suffered injuries to his arm, leg and head, and that his condition was rapidly deteriorating. Captains Bolster and Willis both responded when they heard the call. Captain Bolster arrived on the scene first, and was soon joined by a nearby dive vessel Olympus, which happened to have three medical personnel on-board.
In rough seas and high winds, Captain Bolster transferred the three medical personnel to his Sea Tow vessel and headed to the shrimping vessel to assist the injured man.
As Captain Bolster approached the Tamara Lane, six- to eight-foot swells threatened to smash the smaller Sea Tow vessel against the much larger shrimping boat. The medical personnel could hardly reach the top of the shrimp boat’s high gunwales to climb aboard, even at the crest of a wave. Captain Bolster stabilized his boat by timing the large swells and safely transferred the medical personnel to the Tamara Lane.
During the transfer, the waves threw the Sea Tow vessel against the larger boat and tangled its bow tow post in a shrimping net. Captain Bolster had to quickly remove his boat from the tangle before another wave crashed him into the large fishing vessel, damaged his boat, and possibly caused harm to himself.
Captains Bolster and Willis remained with the shrimping vessel as it motored toward Beaufort Inlet with the medical personnel on board to tend to the injured man. A Coast Guard vessel met the Tamara Lane and transported the patient to medical assistance waiting at the dock.
The efforts of Captains Bolster and Willis showed tremendous courage and bravery.