In another related rescue incident which took place in the East of Stearns Wharf anchorage, Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol Officers Rick Hubbard and Jan Martinez were recognized and awarded the California Boating Safety Officer of the Year Award by the CBSOA Board of Directors at the 32nd Annual Training Symposium in Monterey California. Hubbard and Martinez received the award in recognition of their courageous actions during a life-saving rescue in extreme sea conditions on February 21, 2005. The California Boating Safety Officers Association (CBSOA) represents over 450 officers from over 100 local, State and Federal Agencies that provide some level of boating safety and enforcement in California. Here's their full story.
Just after midnight on February 21, Harbor Patrol Officers Jan Martinez and Rick Hubbard responded to a distress call from the sailing vessel Four Sail. The vessel had broken free of its mooring and was adrift east of Stearns Wharf during a peak storm. Weather conditions included 40-knot winds with 8 to 10-foot breaking seas and heavy rain. Officer Martinez navigated Patrol Boat #3 through the turbulent seas and approached the drifting vessel. Both officers could see the victim clinging to the bow rail. Adding to the challenge of fierce weather and violent seas, the 55-year-old male victim was disabled, with only one leg and no prosthesis. With a boat-to-boat rescue ruled out due to the horrific conditions, a swimming rescue became the last possible hope, as the victim's boat careened toward shore. After receiving verbal guidance from the officers, the victim jumped from the doomed vessel into the sea. Hubbard threw him a life-ring before diving into the sea himself. Officer Hubbard then safely swam the victim 700 yards through high seas, a debris field of logs, bamboo and tree burls and a pounding shore-break, to the beach. The victim was taken to Cottage Hospital and released later that morning. The vessel ran aground on East Beach. Officers Martinez and Hubbard’s courageous actions and professional handling of this rescue was in the highest tradition of Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol and its emergency-response mission. (April 2005)