A star on patrol

A crewmember of the Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal delivers a child to a fellow crewmember aboard the Narwhal after the child and his parents were removed from a boat taking on water offshore Newport Beach, California. U.S Coast Guard photo.

A crewmember of the Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal delivers a child to a fellow crewmember aboard the Narwhal after the child and his parents were removed from a boat taking on water offshore Newport Beach, California. U.S Coast Guard photo.

Story by Lt. Kristyn Grier, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal

Units assigned to Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach take on a number of core Coast Guard missions such as search and rescue, drug and migrant interdictions and boating safety and fisheries operations. The 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal, a Coastal Patrol Boat, answers the call to these missions and keeps busy.

Recently, the Narwhal had an incredible patrol period, packed with a multitude of special evolutions and unique opportunities. The ship began scheduled patrol with the usual series of damage control drills in the morning, followed by an afternoon of vessel boardings near Newport Beach, California. The first patrol day culminated in an evening fish call.

The following morning, the Narwhal towed a Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach training panga, a type of smuggling vessel, offshore and conducted non-compliant vessel response training with another patrol boat, the Coast Guard Cutter Tern. After several hours of successful live-fire training, the Narwhal made best speed back to Los Angeles Harbor and was filmed in several scenes of a major prime-time television show.

“We worked hard with the film crew that day,” said Lt. Kristyn Grier, commanding officer of the Cutter Narwhal. “Fewer than two minutes of actual television footage required eight hours of filming.”

After a busy day working with dozens of film crew and technicians, conducting extensive pier-side maneuvering, making countless camera boat passes and dealing with a massive fog machine, the director finally called a “wrap.” At 11 p.m. the Narwhal began the more than 28-mile transit back to homeport in Corona Del Mar, California.

A Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal boatcrew conducts non-compliant vessel training off the stern of the 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat at its moorings in Corona Del Mar, California. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

A Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal boatcrew conducts non-compliant vessel training off the stern of the 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat at its moorings in Corona Del Mar, California. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

After a late-night mooring, the crew began the next day with early morning cleanups and a labor-intensive, highly technical ship inspection. The crew took the tasks in stride, tackled the inspection, and earned a successful assessment. After the inspection, the crew relaxed during a well deserved lunch break before heading back to Los Angeles Harbor to participate in the 2014 Los Angeles Tall Ship Festival.For the remainder of the afternoon, the Narwhal was parade escort for 13 Tall Ships from all around the world. The Tall Ships sailed through the bustling Los Angeles Harbor led by a giant (six-story), bright yellow, inflatable rubber duck.

Once the parade concluded the Narwhal spent two more nights underway and returned to homeport to enjoy a weekend of rest and relaxation. After a San Diego rock climbing morale event with the Sector Chaplain, the crew returned to work for an exciting mix of search and rescue operations.

On patrol with a fully rested crew, the Narwhal assisted a disabled vessel which was taking on water with 4 people on board, including a 1 year old baby. The Narwhal rescued the victims from the dangerous situation and repaired and dewatered the flooded vessel. Several days later, the Narwhal responded to a Mayday call and performed rescue of an open ocean kayaker who was overcome by heat exhaustion. A portion of the rescue was even featured on live local news.

Before concluding patrol, the Narwhal participated in a multi-unit search-and-rescue case for a man overboard, offshore in the Pacific Ocean. An hour after the subject vessel pulled into homeport, the captain realized his nephew, a crew member, was missing. The Narwhal worked with Coast Guard Station Los Angeles/Long Beach and Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles to search throughout the night and locate the missing man, who was located and recovered after six hours treading water at sea.

There is no shortage of unique opportunities to protect and serve the boating public of the Southern California coast, and the Narwhal is always up for the task.

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