There are only a few more days to vote on which Coast Guard rescue video deserves to be Video of the Year for 2015.
The videos lean heavily toward Alaska.
Two of the 10 top choices cover active at-sea rescues from Alaska Coast Guard stations, one from Sitka and one from helicopters based in Kodiak but for a rescue in Bristol Bay. One is from Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell that departed San Diego bound for the Bering Sea on a general mission, and a fourth features Cutter Healy embarking on an expedition with the National Science Foundation in the Arctic.
The other choices come from around the country, including rescuing turtles from marine debris, intercepting a cocaine-filled semi-submersible, and helping out a barge stuck in ice on the Great Lakes in a joint operation with the Canadian Coast Guard and a U.S. Cutter named Bering Sea.
The two active rescues in Alaska provide the most dramatic footage.
The 73-foot F/V Kupreanof was headed from Petersburg to Bristol Bay to tender salmon on June 10 when the Sitka-based crew responded to their mayday.
The four people on board were in survival suits on the bow with the life raft deployed off the stern, which was partly underwater.
When the helicopter arrived, the pilot told them that it would be best if they could all get into the life raft before rescue, but the skipper told him “I’ve got one man that’s uh… pretty old, and can’t swim.”
Eventually the Coast Guard rescue swimmer gets everyone into the basket to be hoisted to the chopper, the last going up the line just as the bow of the Kupreanof goes under.
The second active rescue of the series is a boat that appears to be about 36-feet long with a gillnet reel on board that became disabled around Togiak Bay, about 275 miles northwest of Kodiak in September.
The boat is close to shore with its anchor out in large surf, turning circles on the anchor making the rescue even more difficult.
The chopper pilot orders the three crew members to get into the water one by one, where they are met by the rescue swimmer and aided into the basket to be hoisted to safety.
The videos are heart-stopping for anyone who has been in trouble at sea.
View and vote by Jan. 3 at http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/tag/video-of-the-year-2015/.
Cristy Fry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.