‘Semper Paratus’

Published 7:26 pm Friday, November 2, 2012

Coast Guard crews performed admirably earlier this week in rescuing 15 people from the replica tall ship HMS Bounty. Unfortunately, one Bounty crew member died and the ship’s captain could not be found.
The crew members will tell you what they did is all in a day’s work. To some degree, they are right. Such rescues are what these crews have been trained to do, with that training never ceasing.
How many of us have what it takes to do what these heroes do day in, day out, week in, week out, year in, year out? Perhaps some of us could do it once, perhaps twice. These crews do it for years, many making careers out of such rescues.
Coastal North Carolina residents are steeped in the rescue feats of the Coast Guard, going back to 1790 when it began safeguarding the nation’s maritime interests. Coast Guard vessels, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft have come to the aid of many a boater, commercial fisherman or recreational fisherman.
In 2011, the Coast Guard responded to 20,510 search-and-rescue cases and saved 3,800 lives. Sometimes, entire crews or some crew members don’t return from those missions.
“Semper Paratus,” the Coast Guard’s motto, means “always ready.”
That’s more than a true statement; it’s a comforting statement.