Tuesday, September 05, 2017

NOW WE NEED THE HELP



This past June, during a routine training drill, Rescue 34 suffered a catastrophic hull failure and was lost at sea. She sank in minutes. Luckily no one on the Dive Team was injured during the sinking. Losing Rescue 34 was heart breaking for the team, she was one of us and served us well for over 15 years.
 
            The Dive Team has setup a GoFundMe campaign to help us raise money for a replacement Rescue 34. The money raised will help us purchase a brand new 19’ Ribcraft. We are asking anyone willing to help our cause to go to  www.gofundme.com/rescue34 to make a donation.
 
            Donations may also be made to:
 
Point Pleasant Beach First Aid Dive Team
611 Laurel Avenue
Point Pleasant, NJ 08742
 
Thank you to everyone for your support and generosity!

HOW DID IT HAPPEN?


I am still in shock over the sinking of Rescue 34, our 16’ zodiac rescue boat. If I wasn’t there to see it myself I would never have believed it. To go from floating to swimming in a minute, it was that fast. One minute Rich G. is telling me “Hey Chet!  We got water coming in“, the next thing I know I’m watching the dive flag go underwater and the whole hull disappear. There was no time to do anything to save it.

The question that kept popping into my thoughts was “How could this happen?”. One thing I know the team did was take care of Rescue 34. It was washed and the motor was flushed out after every time it was used. If the owner’s manual said to do something, it was done. In the spring before putting the boat to hard use over the summer, Rescue 34 was gone over from bow to stern, motor serviced, tubes inspected, all equipment (IE life jackets, lines, lights, batteries) were thoroughly gone over and if it needed to be replaced, it was.  The boat was even kept inside out of the weather all year long.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
After doing some research, I found a few cases online of the hull attachment points or other seams coming apart. This is exactly what happened to Rescue 34. During our preseason checks these points were checked and never showed any signs of failure. I was surprised that I couldn’t find more information about this catastrophic failure, but decided at least I understood the process that caused our boat to sink.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This weekend we decided to take a trip to the Bay Head Yacht Club to look at the kind of boat we are hoping will be our replacement for Rescue 34. We ran into Buddy who is the Dock Master and started asking questions about his Ribcraft. We asked how he liked it, did it hold up well, all the things you ask while considering purchasing a new boat. In talking to him, we shared what had happened during the sinking of Rescue 34 and he knew exactly what we were talking about.

            Buddy took us over to his fleet of 9 Zodiacs and said to take a look at the rear attachment points. Every one of his boats had the attachment point fail. He told us the failure rate was 100%.  I took pictures of the failures on his boats for our own records and each one reminded me of Rescue 34. Buddy went on to say he has to budget money to re-tube three boats every year. Five years was what he said the tubes last.


 

           
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 His Ribcraft on the other hand was over ten years old and was still working well with no problems. The tubes were a little faded, but were not showing any signs of attachment problems even with the hard use of yacht club and being out all summer in the weather. I hope that our replacement for Rescue 34 will serve us as well as Bay Head Yacht Club’s has served them.
             I want to thank Buddy the Dock Master at the Bay Head Yacht Club for taking

Friday, September 01, 2017

Good bye old friend

When the Point Pleasant First Aid Dive Team was formed so many years ago we immediately saw the need for a rescue boat. With the surrounding lakes, ponds, streams, inlets and many miles of coast line, we knew this was a piece of equipment that was desperately needed. With little in the way of funding, we knew we had to go raise the money ourselves.
We set out to raise the money with car washes, donation jars in local businesses and even recovering sinkers from the inlet and selling them back to the fishermen. It was slow going but we were determined to get a rescue boat. Until one day we got a call from the local Zodiac dealer telling us to come down and pick one out. Someone was buying the boat, motor and trailer and it was going to be a donation to the Dive Team.
Lou Mercatanti of Nassau Broadcasting made that donation and gave the team the boat they needed. His generosity and kindness provided us with a 16’ Zodiac rescue boat that was to serve the area residents for over 15 years. Rescue 34 was used as a training platform for divers and for patrolling the areas waters. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall we were out training or patrolling in our red 16’ Zodiac.
That training paid off during hurricane sandy, the team was out at the height of the storm rescuing people from flooded homes. The flooding was so severe that we launched the boat next to the railroad tracks on Arnold Ave. Many of the people said how happy they were when they saw our bright red Rescue 34 coming down the street to take them to higher ground.
 
After hurricane sandy one story comes to mind how Rescue 34 helped people suffering from the effects of the storm. The storm surge had caused a house to be washed across the bay where it came to rest in the shallow waters. The team was out patrolling in Rescue 34 and came across the family trying to recover what they could out of their relocated house. The team helped load out what they could and then loaded a floating dock we found with the families personal items and towed the dock to a local marina using Rescue 34. It wasn’t a big rescue. Just the team helping people who could use an extra hand.
 
After sandy we were out just about every weekend doing beach sweeps and river sweeps and lake clean outs and using Rescue 34 on every one of them. If you go to our blog spot (ptrescuedive.blogspot.com) you can look up hurricane sandy and read the stories and see all the pictures.


 
 
 
            This past June, during a routine training drill, Rescue 34 suffered a catastrophic hull failure and was lost at sea. She sank in minutes. Luckily no one on the Dive Team was injured during the sinking. Losing Rescue 34 was heart breaking for the team, she was one of us and served us well for over 15 years.
            So, here we are again. 15 years later and we start the fundraising process all over again! The Dive Team has setup a GoFundMe campaign to help us raise money for a replacement Rescue 34. The money raised will help us purchase a brand new 19’ Ribcraft. We are asking anyone willing to help our cause to go to  www.gofundme.com/rescue34 to make a donation.

            We would like to thank the community, local businesses and state and local authorities and for all of their support throughout the years. We look forward to serving you in the future. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Humphrey goes home



On August 8th the dive team was invited to help out the release of the first sea turtle to be released on the Jersey shore. This turtle was rehabilitated by Brandi Biehi and Bill Dear of the Sea Turtle Recovery located at the Turtle Back zoo in West Orange NJ.
 

   Humphrey, the turtle was stranded in Virginia back in December of 2016 and do to overcrowding in a facility there he was shipped up to Sea Turtle Recovery to recover from a respiratory infection and get some weight back on him.
    With help from mayor Stephen Reid of Point Pleasant Beach and Jenkinson’s Aquarium and the Point Pleasant First Aid Dive Team the release was set for Aug, 8. Because of the many news releases many people showed up to help send Humphrey back home and even the TV show The Cake Boss made a turtle cake for Humphrey’s big day.
    On release day the skies were overcast and it looked like it would rain at any minute but that didn’t stop many of Humphreys fans from showing up and as the beach filled with news crews and cameramen it took on a life of its own. Some speeches were made and many pictures were taken, with the dive team, the Cake Boss and the guy in the turtle suit and the young girls with the “We love you Humphrey” sign.

   Then Humphrey was driven onto the beach and was unloaded. He was carried down the beach and laid down just short of the wet sand. Then he was released and he started for the water. The crowd remained pretty quiet and just watched. Humphrey stopped and turned around like he was looking at the crowd and then turned back and kept going towards the water. He turned one last time and then headed right into the water.

   With the first hit of the water he start really moving into the waves and after two or three waves he was gone and for just a moment it was so quiet and then the cheers started.
   There were cheers and yes there were some tears. But Humphrey was home with a second chance.
   Now the Cake Boss took over and started filming for his show. The turtle cake came down the beach on a trailer and was placed in front of the crowd and the Boss said a few words and then it was time to cut the cake and enjoy it!


     It was a great job by everyone and even the weather held off. To get more information on the Sea Turtle Recovery check out their web site at www.seatertlerecovery.org. To see a short video of the release check out www.youtube.com/chiefdiver34/humphreygoeshome





Monday, June 26, 2017

Jetty Rescue Drill 2017


The third Thursday of June is always the Jetty drill run by the Point Pleasant First aids dive team. Along with the first aid we also have the life guards from Jenkinsons beach patrol. With the official start of the summer just days away this drill helps coordinates the response of both the life guards and first aid to any emergencies on the jetty.

    With fishermen and bathers walking and fishing from the concrete jacks at the end of the jetty they don’t know how dangerous they can be. They can be very slippery and with the gaps between the jacks you can fall pretty far down in between the openings and some of the opening go down pretty far.

    The drill started out with the guards finding out how to move someone down the rocks on a back board. The back board is passed down a line of rescuers who are set in place down the rocks. This is done with a full size person on the board so they get a feeling for the real thing.



   After a few times moving the victim up and down the rocks. One of the squad’s instructors run through how a person is put on a backboard and how to lift and carry them. The dive team then shows everyone how to search the rocks, then the guards and first aiders are put in teams and sent out to find the victims who are hidden in the rocks.

  

 Once found the life guards and the first aiders work to recover the victim and get them up and out of the rocks and it’s not that easy. There is never enough room to work in and it’s never just a lift out. Here they get to use what they first learned, moving a victim across the rocks and in one case using lines to lift a victim strait up and then across the rocks.
 
 
victim found

 
 
 
last minute instruction before a victim lift

victim is up


 

and moved across the rocks   
A head count to make to sure everyone is accounted for

Point Pleasant First Aid and Dive Team and Jenkinsons Beach Patrol

 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Boat races 2017


On Sunday the dive team and the first aid was on scenes for the offshore power boat races. The first aid is the lead EMS squad for anything that happens. The power boat people have medics and EMT’s on their rescue boats along with divers and anything that happen gets turned over to us on shore.

   The dive team is stationed on the jetty to watch over the people who watch the racers as they come out the inlet and into the ocean and we are also backup divers if anything major happens and more divers are needed. Over the years we have had people fall into the rocks and fall going down off jetty so this is a good spot for us and that’s why we have a EMT with the team and every year someone always needs a band aid for that flip flop jetty toe.



  We come down the beach with all are gear loaded in the squads 5 ton army truck and this is a big hit with the kid and their parents alike, lots of pictures have been taken with the truck and divers as a backdrop. The truck if needed can go over the beach anywhere along the whole race course and can carry whatever is needed.

    This year started out great with good weather and smaller waves out on the ocean. As the races were lead out of the inlet by the Coast Guard and the State police and people on the jetty cheered, but not for long. In the first turn on the first lap an accident happened that put an end to racing for the day and put everyone in rescue mode.



   The First Aid was at the Coast Guard station ready and waiting for the injured racers to be brought in and did a great job getting them off to where they needed to go. But the accident did put an end to the race. Boats needed to be recovered and one needed to found as it had sunk and no one was in a mood to do any racing.


    It is not my place to go into details about what happened, not here anyway. I can tell you that everything that could have been done was done. What a great job by the rescue divers, EMTs, Medics U.S. Coast Guard and state police. Racing is racing be it car, boat, drag, downhill skiing there is danger in all of them. We can only do our best to make them safe and be ready if an accident happens