Coast Guard assists tug and barge past fast-moving ebb tide near Westport, Wash.

A Coast Guard 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Station Grays Harbor assists a tug and barge through an extreme ebb tide near the entrance to Grays Harbor, Wash., Nov. 17, 2016. The tug and barge were unable to make way due to the ebb tide and could have ended up aground without assistance from the Coast Guard boatcrew.WESTPORT, Wash. — A Coast Guard boatcrew assisted a tug and barge past fast-moving ebb tide conditions near West Haven Marina preventing a barge from running aground, Thursday evening.

A boatcrew aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor towed while the tug pushed the barge to safety within the West Haven Marina.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River in Warrenton, Oregon, received a cell phone call for help from the captain of the tug MaryAnne requesting assistance due to being beset by the ebb tide, which was running at about 4.6 mph. The MaryAnne had been only able to maintain position for the previous two hours at Light 7 with no forward movement with the barge carrying an excavator and 30 tons of rock.

The Coast Guard crew was already underway preparing for training with an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, but diverted to assist. Although there was no standard towing equipment available on the barge, the boatcrew rigged a towing line and worked with the crew of the MaryAnne to get to safe water and moor up.

“The ebb last night was one of the biggest ebbs of the year – added to water runoff from recent rainfall and river currents — it was certainly difficult to maneuver to safety,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Steven McDougal, coxswain of the MLB. “En Route to the scene the crew had formulated a plan and it all fell into place pretty smoothly because of great teamwork between my crew and the crew of the MaryAnne.”

The estimated weight of the loaded barge was about 160 tons while the maximum allowable weight to be towed by an MLB without a waiver is 150 tons. The full weight of the barge was never fully on the MLB because of the assistance from the MaryAnne.


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