June 15, 2008
Great video from Popular Mechanics, with really lukewarm narration here.
If I was a coastie, I dunno if I'd want to be assigned there.
It's the most lethal area of ocean anywhere in the world, because the weather is horrible, and the crab is delicious, so those kinds of rescues are needed a lot of times per year. If you are part of a search-and-rescue squad, you'll get more business there than anywhere else.
But it's also a horrible and dangerous place to be doing rescues. I bet the Coast Guard has lost more men there than anywhere else.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Sun Jun 15 17:44:55 2008 (+rSRq)
Posted by: Elliott at Sun Jun 15 19:29:48 2008 (LnTtG)
Due to its location in the mantle, it is not considered part of the Continental United States.
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Sun Jun 15 19:55:25 2008 (V5zw/)
A couple of the Alaska stations are actually considered hardship posts more due to the lack of entertainment facilities in the frontier communities than the risk to life and limb.
It is a dangerous place however. Several helicopters have been lost while hovering during rescue operations.
It now seems probable they were lost due to being physically knocked out of the sky by rogue waves over 30m high (a phenomenon that until recently was not thought possible).
After the last such event produced survivors (and independent observation by a nearby cutter), the hovering height has been modified.
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Sun Jun 15 20:08:34 2008 (V5zw/)
Another thing about that post is that a lot of the time what they bring back is a corpse rather than a survivor. Even with the special suits that all the crab fishermen now wear, half-life of a man in the water there is less than half an hour because of hypothermia. Being a crab fisherman in the Bering Strait is reputed to be the most dangerous job there is.
(Except maybe "Chinese coal miner.")
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Sun Jun 15 21:19:33 2008 (+rSRq)
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