Letters to the Editor: Catalina Islander, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015

 

Readers express sorrow for lives lost in New Year’s storm

A letter to to Avalon Harbor Master Brian Bray

The night of December 30, 2014 cost the city of Avalon and especially the Avalon Harbor Patrol greatly.

The loss of Patrolman Tim Mitchell is difficult.  As a retired fireman and lifeguard rescue boat operator, I know the depth of sorrow felt by all members of the safety service when one of their own is lost.

Readers express sorrow for lives lost in New Year’s storm

A letter to to Avalon Harbor Master Brian Bray

The night of December 30, 2014 cost the city of Avalon and especially the Avalon Harbor Patrol greatly.

The loss of Patrolman Tim Mitchell is difficult.  As a retired fireman and lifeguard rescue boat operator, I know the depth of sorrow felt by all members of the safety service when one of their own is lost.

While we did not know Tim personally, we do know several patrolmen in Avalon.

The professionalism of the men and women of your staff has constantly impressed during both good and bad times.

On the night of Dec. 30, 2014, we were in Avalon battling the weather and sea onboard our boat.  We were able to observe the Harbor Patrol performing at its best.

All night, we witnessed patrol boats assisting distressed vessels as they drifted and collided in the harbor.

While we were able to fend off one boat for many hours, it was with enormous relief that I heard my name called out from the darkness by a patrolman.

“I wouldn’t let you down,” had to have been the best words I have heard—ever.

Orne Carstaphian and his crew then were able to separate my boat and my neighbor’s boat, and end the long night of colliding.

We are home now, safe, thanks to the yeoman efforts of people like Tim Mitchell and Orne Carstaphian.  Our boat will be in the yard for repairs; all moderate.  We, on the other hand, while safe, do share the pain of your department’s loss.  Please know that we will, to the best of our abilities, always have you and your staff’s back.

Thank you for your service.

With condolence and great respect,

Mark and Lynn Nelson

Dana Point, California

Reducing the risks

As a frequent visitor to Avalon (on a 30-foot Catalina) I’d first like to express sincere condolences for the loss of life that occurred over the recent holiday.

I have spent several nights on moorings in the harbor when the weather was pretty rough. Had to re-rig mooring lines and fend off neighbors’ vessels in the rain with the help of a harbor patrol fellow at night. There is always a certain element of risk involved with the ocean.

As mariners, we are willing to undertake the risks and enjoy the rewards. So we do what we can to minimize the risks. Having given some thought to what can be done to reduce the vulnerability of the harbor to adverse wind and swell conditions … why not extend the breakwater 500 feet further into the harbor?

How about extending the sea wall for the transportation docks further into the harbor?

Yes, it would cause more congestion, but it will certainly save someone’s life in the future.

Peter Vaneynde

Marina del Rey

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