Newport, Oregon is one of the highest catch ports in the U.S. as well as a huge recreational, merchant, research and NOAA port.
Tell Congress not to relocate the Coast Guard rescue helicopter between 90 and 130 miles away. Tell Congress that adding an hour flight time to Newport’s rescue helicopter is an irresponsible way to cut government spending. This move is the result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 and will jeopardize the lives of our commercial and recreational fleet. Please sign the Newport Fisherman’s Wives Petition.
Oregon’s entire Congressional delegation is opposed to distancing the rescue helicopter. They write: “We join the Oregon Coast community in expressing our admiration and support for the USCG and its mission. We also believe strongly that removing search and rescue assets from Newport would only heighten the chance of a very preventable tragedy.”
Local fishermen told KGW that rescue response times to some areas would be far more challenging without the helicopter. “The cutters just can’t get out there fast enough,” said fisherman Riley Holt.
Commissioner Bill Hall added that it’s not just those who go to sea that rely on the helos but also surfers, rock climbers and other visitors to the Oregon Coast who are routinely rescued.
News Lincoln County Reports (10-8-2014): “Former Newport Port Commission President Ginny Goblirsch, accompanied by Fishermen’s Wives member Jennifer Stevenson, among others, made it clear to the Lincoln County Commission Wednesday that the Oregon Coast will not tolerate a permanent Coast Guard pull out its air rescue helicopter from the Newport Airport.
Goblirsch said there have been efforts in the past to close down the Newport facility but they have been thwarted by overwhelming evidence that the helo is absolutely vital to save and protect lives along the Oregon Coast. Goblirsch and County Commissioner Terry Thompson, himself a commercial fisherman, both emphasized that whoever came up with the most recent closure idea doesn’t “get it” about marine conditions off the Pacific Northwest. Thompson said the Coast Guard’s boasting about still having one hour response times to the scene of people overboard, would amount to a body recovery operation because without survival suits, especially aboard recreation and charter boats, ocean temperatures are so low that death comes within 15 minutes. Thompson said the warm waters off Florida allow a victim to survive a very long time while waiting to be rescued. Not so in the Pacific Northwest. He said the Coast Guard brass in Washington DC needs to come to grips with that.”
Captain James Cook quickly came to grips with the hazards off the basalt rock-bound coast in March of 1778. He spied a few capes protruding and rising above the surf. The HMS Resolution was promptly commanded to set sail for better waters off Alaska. Cape Foulweather and Cape Perpetua have retained the names given them by Captain Cook. Saint Perpetua was a married noblewoman with child when she was martyred at age 22. Cape Foulweather is 9 miles north of Newport. Cape Perpetua is 37 miles south of Newport on the northern edge of Devil’s Churn. These are not the most hospitable of ocean waters. (Moir’s Environmental Dialogues Episode 57, Acidifying Oceans Are Killing Oysters and Oyster Farms in Oregon.)
In August 2011, NOAA moved its base of research ships from Seattle to Newport. The base has about 110 marine officers and a total of 175 employees. NOAA bases four ships here and provides support for up to two itinerant vessels.
The brave men and women who go to sea out of Newport, Oregon, deserve the national respect of continuation of full funding for the Coast Guard Search and Rescue facility at the Newport Airport complete with Rescue Helicopter.