Let's Celebrate.With A Rescue!

Published online: Nov 29, 2010 Feature Brady L. Kay
Viewed 1268 time(s)

You know those people that just can't seem to stop working, even when they're off the clock? Most of the time it's self-inflicting for these workaholic types that just don't know how to take a break for a moment and relax. I guess it's by instinct that these people feel compelled to keep working, even after the time clock has been punched.

Of course, then there are those who wouldn't mind the break, but the call of duty springs them into action and they're forced to go back to work. Just ask Petty Officer Third Class and veteran rescue swimmer Jason Dahl who fully understands the U.S. Coast Guard is always prepared-even at its own party.

This past spring the Coast Guard threw a celebration for the 25th anniversary of its Rescue Swimmer program. This program, which began at Air Station in Elizabeth City, Va. in 1985, has trained more than 750 swimmers who have gone on to save about 25,000 lives, according to the Coast Guard.

But just as the silver anniversary party was getting started and hundreds of current and former swimmers, along with family and friends, were gathering for the event in Elizabeth City, an emergency call came in: a boat had sunk off Virginia Beach. The lone occupant had managed to send a Mayday then quickly went silent.

"He set off his radio beacon, and that was the last we heard from him," U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Andrew Kendrick told reporters.

This is when Dahl sprang into action and quickly left the party to respond to the call. He boarded a Jayhawk helicopter and the crew quickly found fisherman Nolan Agner floating amid the debris of this boat Knockdown about 15 miles south of Rudee Inlet.

The hero of this story dove into the chilly water and upon reaching Agner determined he was suffering from hypothermia.

"I came up on the guy and asked him if he was injured. He said he wasn't injured, but that he was pretty cold," Dahl said. "He was shivering, so I made the decision to bring him up into the aircraft."

"He definitely set himself up for success," added Matt Herring, the Coast Guard pilot. "As far as being rescued, he had a life raft as well as a life jacket, an emergency locator beacon, so he had done a lot of things beforehand to help himself get rescued successfully."

Agner was treated at a nearby hospital and has since made a full recovery. And in true Clark Kent fashion, after delivering the victim to the hospital, the helicopter returned Dahl back to the party. The entire operation took less than 30 minutes. It takes longer than that to get a pizza delivered these days! I'd call that heroic, but I guess Dahl just looks at it like another day in the life of a rescue swimmer.

Vice Admiral John Currier, chief of staff for the U.S. Coast Guard and keynote speaker for the event, told the crowd of 200 that the ceremony was important for many reasons.

"First of all, it's honoring one of the most successful Coast Guard programs ever in our history, but more importantly, it's a gathering of the folks that made that happen," he said. "The dedicated professional Coast Guard men and women that fought against negativism, fought against all kinds of people saying you can't do it, but they stood up for it."


He went on to call it "one of the most successful Coast Guard programs ever in our history." There is at least one fisherman who will fully back him up on that statement that there were trained people in place to save his life. Here's to another 25 years of success!

You May Also Be Interested In...

March 23, 2015

Attempting The Great Loop

Have you ever toyed with the possibility of houseboating along the Great Loop?
March 20, 2015

12 Things To Do Differently

Even the most experienced houseboaters can sometimes find themselves in a sticky situation. Here are the top 12 most common mistakes new and experienced boaters should be aware of.
March 13, 2015

How To Pick The Right Houseboat Rental For You

Picking the right houseboat rental can be like selecting the perfect breakfast cereal…
February 27, 2015

Chasing the Dream

Once you’ve decided to become a houseboat owner and done all your research on the overall costs, it’s time to start looking at your financing options.
February 20, 2015

Ten Water Games To Play In Spring

One of the greatest classics of all water games is Marco Polo. When we’re playing in the water and can’t think of a game, it’s pretty much the go-to. But...
February 13, 2015

Houseboating Abroad

Taking a houseboat adventure abroad is one way to indulge in the richness of other cultures.
Follow us on Facebook!   Follow us on Instagram!   Follow us on Pinterest!   Follow us on YouTube!