Coast Guard commends captain and crew of M/V Nantucket for life-saving act

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During a crossing on Sunday, a Steamship Authority ferry suspended alcohol sales.

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a letter of commendation this month, recognizing the Steamship Authority (SSA) and the captain and crew of the ferry M/V Nantucket for their swift and heroic rescue of a fisherman, very likely saving his life.

On the morning of August 30, according to a press release from the SSA, a fisherman fell overboard from the commercial fishing vessel Sky Pie into the waters of Nantucket Sound. The crew of the M/V Nantucket, en route on its regularly scheduled run from Hyannis to Nantucket, heard the distress call and immediately mobilized to assist in rescue efforts. M/V Nantucket Captain David H. Moore diverted the ferry from its standard course to the vicinity of the F/V Sky Pie, and launched the ferry’s rescue boat.

U.S. Coast Guard Captain Richard J. Schultz, commander of the USCG’s Sector Southeastern New England, said in his letter of commendation of M/V Nantucket Captain David Moore: The M/V Nantucket’s crew swiftly maneuvered the ferry’s rescue boat “into close proximity of the distressed fisherman to quickly and safely recover the individual within minutes. Once safely aboard the rescue boat, first aid was promptly and properly administered. The fisherman survived this perilous accident due entirely to your [Captain David Moore’s] professional response and that of your crew.”

Schultz continued, “The swift actions, sound judgment, and expert seamanship displayed by you and the crew of the M/V Nantucket undoubtedly saved a fisherman’s life, and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.”

“The training we do is over and above what is required by the Coast Guard,” said SSA general manager Wayne Lamson in a recent phone conversation with The Times. “It’s done on a rotating basis with 20 percent of the crew each year.” In addition, he said, regular man-overboard drills are conducted to practice launching boats. The Coast Guard requires that these be done quarterly, and the SSA does them monthly or weekly. Mr. Lamson said that the ferry responds to distress calls from sinking vessels about once a year.

The Coast Guard’s letter was announced during a meeting of the Steamship Authority’s board on Tuesday, Dec. 20, along with a letter of commendation co-signed by Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson and Port Captain Charles G. Gifford. Mr. Lamson said by phone that the SSA sent commendations to the captain and crewmen involved in the rescue immediately after the incident.

Mr. Lamson and Mr. Gifford recognized Captain David Moore and the crew of the M/V Nantucket for their proficient, professional, and admirable lifesaving rescue. The commendation also recognizes Pilot/Mate Christopher Keating, for his supervision of the crew during the rescue mission, and the crew of the rescue boat — Able Seaman Timothy Smith and Able Seaman Richard Fraser — for the rescue and safe retrieval of the fisherman.

Acknowledging the perilous conditions that face mariners, and the dangers faced daily by those in the commercial fishing industry, Lamson and Gifford praised the M/V Nantucket’s crew for taking actions that saved a life.