Tragedy In Avalon - Harbor Patrol Officer Killed


Almost A Member
Nov 13, 2007
43' Bertram "PierFection"
Being a firefighter myself, I can confirm that we don't take unnecessary risks to our life to save someone's VACANT house, garage (with or without a Lamborghini), or vessel. The key here is that you are trying to judge his actions now that you have several facts that he probably did not at the time of the incident.

If you saw a $200,000 R.V. rolling down the street headed towards a bunch of people in a park, would you try to jump behind the wheel and stop it? Or would you wave to it as it passed you by on its way to kill the people celebrating a birthday in the park. Wait you already answered that.

As was pointed out, several vessels were calling in distress calls from crew members in fear for their lives. The threat to lives was from people's own boats adrift (with fouled anchors), and to the people that were getting knocked off their moorings from drifting boats. I don't think that the harbor patrol member thought that he would risk his life to save a vessel. I would imagine he was trying to mitigate the threat to anyone aboard or in the path of the vessel. We now know that no one was aboard, and that it did not hit and kill anyone on its way to the seawall. Unfortunately he probably did not have that information at the time of the incident.

With regard to your idea of a hero being someone who goes into a burning building to save someone,
many of time we roll up to a house that is blazing and find several neighbors telling us that the family is inside. We risk our lives to search for them only to find they went away for the weekend, and no one was home after all. Many of firefighters have died trying to save someone, when no one was home to begin with. I guess by your sideline quarterbacking, they would just die an idiot for getting killed in a vacant building. Some people put their lives on the line in an attempt to save a stranger, and other people sit at their computer sucking their thumb judging them.

Thank god you are not a Firefighter, Police Officer, Coast Guard, or Harbor Patrol Officer. I would imagine you would call in sick when you saw the wind and swell pick up that evening. By the way the Santa Anna winds blow from around September till December or January. I guess they should close the island during those months. I'll bet being from Monterey you might not understand that, or the fact that during those months Catalina experiences some of their best weather of the year. It is very rare for wind events like this in Avalon, but they do (as seen here) occasionally happen and we can not always count on the weatherman to keep us safe. That is why you have people that work as public safety officers. They put their lives on the line to help a stranger that was uninformed or unprepared.
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