If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this graphic, developed by the Surfrider Foundation, is truly worth a couple million. It clearly shows the crushing volume of Coast Guard helo responses to calls for help by fishermen, surfers, rock climbers and beach visitors along the Oregon Coast in 2013. During 2013, 11 lives were saved, 529 lives were ‘assisted,’ and 6 lives were lost off the Central Coast.
Looking at Surfrider’s research spanning the years 2007 through 2013, a total of 159 lives were saved off Newport, 3,780 lives were ‘assisted,’ and 36 lives were lost. It’s roughly a full third of the total number of calls for helo assistance up and down the entire Oregon Coast.
Surfrider’s contribution to the debate over the closure of the Newport Air Station clearly demonstrates what’s at stake for Oregon’s commercial and recreation fisheries, tourism, marine research and the safety and well being of Central Coast citizens. A full compilation of Coast Guard helo operations from 2007 through 2013 is available on Surfrider’s website at www.SaveTheHelo.org or just click here.
Currently everyone is waiting for a federal judge’s ruling on the Coast Guard’s request that a lawsuit brought against them for scheduling the shutdown of the Newport Air Station be dismissed. The Coast Guard’s top command in Washington DC now contends the closure was only a “proposed” action and that it has been dropped. However, a check of the Coast Guard’s budget for the next fiscal year indeed orders the closure of the base.