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Coast Guard trainee passes real-world test

Modified: Thursday, Aug 7th, 2014

The Starship Trooper is taken under tow by a 47-foot motor life boat at the entrance to Depoe Bay harbor, a 300-foot passage known as “The Hole.” At the helm of the U.S. Coast Guard vessel was a 23-year-old coxswain-in-training, Danielle Holland. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

DEPOE BAY — A tow job in the Pacific Ocean can grow tricky and dangerous in the narrow passage to Depoe Bay harbor, where a 50-by 300-foot gash in the jagged basalt cliffs called “The Hole in the Wall” is the final test of a coxswain’s skill.

Passing the challenge with colors flying on Saturday, July 26, was Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Danielle Holland, 23, a “break-in coxswain” at the helm of a 47-foot motor lifeboat. One of two females in the 27-member contingent at U.S. Coast Guard Station Depoe Bay, Holland deftly guided the disabled “Starship Trooper” through the infamous channel.

The vessel, a 30-foot “six-pack” with four souls aboard, had lost power just 150 feet from the harbor entrance as it returned from a salmon fishing excursion. Even in a relatively calm sea, the wind and drift can slam a vessel broadside into the rocky cliffs of Depoe Bay, but Coast Guard boats here have never lost a boat in good seas or foul. The busy surf station averages 100 calls a year, according to its commander, Senior Chief David Pierias.

For the complete article see the 08-06-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 08-06-2014 paper.

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