Coast Guard awards Philadelphia brothers for rescue efforts

Capt. Eric Gleason, commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City presents the Coast Guard Public Service Commendation to Joe Gottschalk (center) and Billy Gottschalk (right), Philadelphia natives, for their efforts to help save four people on boogie boards caught in a riptide on August 10, 2016, at Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, Oct. 11, 2017. Coast Guard photography by Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson

Capt. Eric Gleason presents the Coast Guard Public Service Commendation to Joe Gottschalk (center) and Billy Gottschalk (right), for their efforts to help save four people on boogie boards caught in a riptide on August 10, 2016, at Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, Oct. 11, 2017.
Coast Guard photography by Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson

PHILADELPHIA — The Coast Guard awarded two brothers the U.S. Coast Guard Public Service Commendation for their assistance last year in saving four boogie boarders caught in a rip current off Strathmere, New Jersey, at Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, Wednesday.

Joseph Gottschalk, 24, and William Gottschalk, 31, both Philadelphia natives, were fishing in a Scanoe® on August 10, 2016, when they assisted four people in distress, making their way through five-foot breaking surf to lend assistance to two adults and two children as a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City arrived on-scene.

As the Gottschalk brothers approached the boogie boarders, they gave their life jackets to the children and with the assistance of the Coast Guard rescue swimmer, placed the children in the Scanoe®, and then they were hoisted to the safety of the helicopter.

Just after the children were hoisted, a large swell capsized the Scanoe®, sending the Gottschalks into the water. While the Coast Guard rescue crew hoisted the remaining two adult boogie boarders aboard their helicopter, the Gottschalks fought through breaking surf to make their way back to shore.

The actions of the Gottschalks directly assisted in saving the lives of four people and kept them from being overwhelmed by the sea.

“We are just glad we were in the right place at the right time to be able to help assist four people who were in trouble,” said Billy Gottschalk. “I’m glad we were able to get them to safety so they can go on to enjoy another vacation in the future.”

Editors note: A Scanoe® is a brand of boat by Coleman. It is a a cross between a skiff and a canoe. It is wider than a conventional canoe and has a flat stern so that a small outboard motor can be mounted if needed

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