Rip current claims a life on the Long Beach Peninsula

Rip current claims a life on the Long Beach Peninsula

This holiday weekend, with its gorgeous weather, drew many visitors to Pacific Northwest beaches. For one family, the weekend ended in tragedy, as a 14 year old boy was swept out to sea off Long Beach, Washington. Another life claimed by the ocean, because someone did not understand what they were up against here, despite posted warning signs, and numerous deaths annually.

The bottom line here is this: Pacific Northwest waters are not a pool, not a lake, not a placid beach in Hawaii or Florida where the water is like a bathtub and the waves are gentle. It’s cold, there are merciless currents and your chances of dying are high.

For the average visitor, these waters are not safe to swim in. But clearly, the message is not getting out to people.

USCG Coronavirus precautions

USCG Coronavirus precautions

I’ve gotten some questions from listeners about ships arriving in the Columbia River from China, and possible Coronavirus risks.

So I contacted our local USCG folks at Air Station Astoria, where the Captain of the Port for the Columbia is located. Here’s their reply:

  • The Coast Guard is supporting nationwide efforts to prevent, protect, and mitigate the spread of the Novel Coronavirus.
  • Vessels carrying passengers that have been to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) or embarked passengers who have been in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States.
  • The Coast Guard is assessing all Advanced Notice of Arrival Reports from inbound vessels to determine if the vessel has visited a country impacted by the Novel Coronavirus within the last five ports of call.
  • The health and safety of the American people is our top priority.
  • The Coast Guard will review all Advanced Notice of Arrivals from inbound vessels to determine if a vessel has visited a country impacted by the Novel Coronavirus outbreak within its last five ports of call.
  • Vessel representatives are required to report sick or deceased crew or passengers within the last 15 days to the CDC.

We don’t usually get cruise ships here this time of year, so that caveat probably doesn’t apply to us here right now. The trip from China to here takes at least two weeks by cargo ship, so anyone who is not showing symptoms would have enough time to be visibly ill by the time they got here. Vessels are  also being monitored for their last five ports of call before they get here, to assess risks.

Summer safety on the coast

Summer safety on the coast

This month I had a request from the USCG at Air Station Astoria, where they asked if one of their personnel could come on the show and talk about safety, just before the 4th of July holiday weekend. They wanted to let people know about the dangers inherent in living in a dynamic coastal area like the Oregon and Wasington coast, and about the laws regarding fireworks use. I learned some things I didn’t know. For instance, did you know it’s a felony to shoot off a flare for fun? Flares on not fireworks and if you shoot one into the sky and a USCG rescue is launched because of it, you could be charged with a felony and get fined big bucks. So, lots to learn here. The Coast Guard does so much for us, let’s not make them work any harder than they have to. Here is some sage and valuable advice from USCG Petty Officer Trevor Lilburn: 

Coming home

Coming home

I have good news for podcast folk: The Ship Report website is up to date, finally, after a rocky patch where I struggled to keep up with it. Thank you for sticking with me. If you were put off by the lack of posts, I hope you’ll come back.

Within the past year or so, I launched a new Ship Report website, posted podcasts to it, and then did a not very good job of keeping them current, while juggling the consuming duties of being my elderly father’s caretaker in the final phase of his life. His long and well-lived existence came to an end on April 4 of this year. Ninety-eight years of being his own amazing person, and most important to me – my dad.

For people who didn’t know him, he was one of the most intelligent and innovative people I’ve ever met. When I was a kid I looked up to him and thought he knew everything. When I got older, I realized this wasn’t far off the mark, and mot much of an exaggeration. It seemed he really DID know everything, at least everything in my world. When I was a kid he built our first television, built new kitchen cabinets for my mother, built a sailboat when he decided he wanted a boat, and renovated a larger wooden boat later when he wanted a larger craft. He was always building and inventing things. He knew a lot and what he didn’t know, he studied until he got it.

He was a scientist for a living, working among a high end group of professionals at Brookhaven National Laboratory, in New York, during the era of the budding atomic reactor and the creation of the atomic bomb. He used to come home from work in black government-issued sedans with the Atomic Energy Commission logo on the door. When I was little he flew to Los Alamos, New Mexico, as part of the Manhattan Project.  He was a computer guy when computers were new, and a math major in college, which he attended on the GI Bill. 

To me he was a kind, generous and demanding dad. He always had my back, but he expected a lot. To make a long story short, I loved him dearly and we were very close, and he was always there for me. I always felt like I never quite lived up to his expectations for me, but I would imagine a lot of us feel that way about our parents.

So, in these last couple of months,  I have been grieving the loss of a man who has defined my life in many ways, and certainly taught me the strong work ethic, honesty and commitment that I feel today about the things I do. Grieving is a journey, as anyone who has lost a loved one knows.

He taught me to love the sea, and the same salt water that ran in his blood also runs in mine. It’s because I’m Stu Rideout’s daughter that the Ship Report has become such a fascination and long term project for me.  I’ve been doing the show for 16 years and I still love it. There is always more to learn and to share. And I still get a sense of happy well-being when I on something that’s floating, whether it’s a kayak, a sailboat or a ship.

The Ship Report website is pretty much up to date now with podcasts, and I hope you check it out. I feel ready now to keep it current, and that’s why I’m bringing it up. There are a few missing reports here and there, and in the ensuing weeks I’ll go through and see if I can retrieve and post them.

On the new site, the most recent posts are displayed in the rotating graphic at the top of the page, and you can click through them. If you just want to see the entire list of what’s on the site, just click any link that says Ship Report Podcasts.

Finally, many thanks to all of you who are on this Ship Report journey with me, loyal through my ups and downs. I have you in mind every time I go on the air, and I am always seeking interesting things to talk about that I hope you find interesting too. Thank you for sharing in this wonderfully nerdy maritime journey we are on together. And, always, always, thanks for listening.

Coming home

How to access podcasts

A quick note on how to access podcasts: the current month’s podcast are here in this area. You’ll find the complete archive of podcasts (including the current month), when you click the Ship Report Podcasts link at the top of the page. Thanks for listening to the Ship Report!