Unfortunately the US Coast Guard can cause deaths as well as save them, and Sunday’s horrific accident on San Diego Harbor has indeed killed one young boy and seriously injured 5 more kids and adults.
The tragedy occurred as the annual Parade of Lights was getting started just after dusk, when a 33′ USCG rescue boat took off at 30-40 knots to check on a reported grouding. There were some 80 boats participating in the parade and many hundreds more enjoying an evening on the harbor, including 13 people aboard the 26′ Sea Ray of the DeWeese family.
The CG boat was running hard despite the congestion, and one witness remarked "if they’re not careful, they’re going to kill someone," and then they did, colliding with the DeWeese’s boat. Which, depending on the report, was either anchored or moving at idle speed. "He came up so fast, I didn’t have time to react," said Alan DeWeese.
Five family members were seriously injured and are still under hospital care, but the sixth, 8-year-old Anthony Cole DeWeese, died of his injuries an hour after the crash.
The officers aboard the rescue boat were suspended from active duty pending investigations by a host of different agencies.
Despite our appreciation and respect for the Coast Guard, you’d have to be blind not to notice a general change in the attitudes of the coasties assigned to the kind of routine harbor duty that this group was apparently on. The idiotic War on Drugs combined with Homeland Security paranoia has put an arrogant, paramilitary face on many of these guys, and this extends to the way some of them roar around protected waterways at unsafe speeds as they pursue yet another boater without enough life jackets aboard.
Accidents happen, but the level of negligence required for a radar and searchlight-equipped CG vessel to crash into an unmoving boat at 30+ knots on a calm night is startling. Barring the discovery that the DaWeese’s boat was using some kind of cloaking device, the skipper of that 33 should lose a lot more than his position.
We’ll be monitoring this one, and for up-to-the-minute news and discussion, check this thread.
All of us at SA send our heartfelt condolences to the DaWeese family.