When someone needs help in the ocean, they call the U.S. Coast Guard. When the Coast Guard needs help, they call us. At least they did on Tuesday, June 14, 2011. No one was in immediate danger, except one crew member whose wedding band dropped off the dock at Station Manasquan. (We don't know if his marriage was in actual danger, but we all wanted to get his ring back just the same.)
Chief Nesley reported to the station that day and spent two-and-a-half hours down with an underwater metal detector, with negative results. He discovered afterwards that he had not been directed to check the correct area off the dock.
On Sunday, June 19, we brought a second crew back to the station, and this time we got to speak directly with the crew member who lost his ring. He pointed right to the spot where the ring dropped off and added that tide had been running out 2-3 hours at the time. We dropped an anchor to mark the center point of the search area, followed by a quarter to observe how a small object would interact with the substrate. Vis was good, but the sediment there is like pudding. The coin plopped halfway into the muck (and didn't go any further), but every touch of the bottom erupted a silt cloud. We figured that the underwater metal detectors might be necessary, so we adjusted the sensitivities to pick up small objects.
Joe and Sue first drifted over the entire search area for a rough visual scan. Not seeing our target, they came back to the dock where Chet and Brandon assisted in getting them both outfitted with the underwater metal detectors. They returned to the bottom to begin the tedious process of sweeping a pattern. Within a few minutes, Joe returned to the dock, seemingly fed up and frustrated. He choked and complained to the Chief about the job, right before he "coughed" the ring up onto the dock!
At some point, Joe went back down to recall Sue. We were glad to complete another successful search & recovery mission, and one Coast Guard crew member was glad to have his wedding band back