Coast Guard honors Pierce County ferry crew

The United States Coast Guard presented official commendations to the crew of the Pierce County ferry during County Council meeting April 28.

Coast Guard Capt. Suzanne Englebert presided over the ceremony, which recognized the crew of the Christine Anderson for life-saving actions last summer.

“A true mariner knows the dangers, a professional mariner prevents the dangers, and a lifesaver is a professional mariner who responds to save others from danger,” said Capt. Englebert, who serves as the USCG Commander Sector Seattle and Captain of the Port for the entire Puget Sound region. “With these awards we salute both professional mariners and lifesavers.”

In the early evening of June 16, 2008, passengers on the ferry Christine Anderson saw a displaced kayaker waving frantically in the water several hundred yards from the vessel. Pierce County Captain Jay Mooney and his crew did an emergency stop and began scanning the water. Once the person was located, the crew deployed a life ring and maneuvered the person onto the ferry.

Engineer Bryan Friebel administered first aid while the captain made best speed to Anderson Island. The Anderson Island Fire Department met the ferry and evaluated the kayaker for injuries.

Following the incident, on July 29, 2008, an official Pierce County proclamation was given to Mooney, Friebel, senior deckhands Bryan Annis and Ben Howard, and deckhand-in-training Brenda Johnson.

“This was a great effort by the crew of the Christine Anderson,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “There was no hesitation about responding to someone in need.

“It is good to know that we have well-trained professionals working in our Pierce County ferry system,” added District 6 Council Member Dick Muri, whose district includes the Anderson Island run. “And thanks to sharp-eyed passengers for spotting the situation and quickly alerting the crew. Great team work.”