Thursday, 26 August 2021 — Mayport Naval Station, Florida.
Although CENSECFOR routinely trains Navy personnel in how to deal with life-and-death situations, it’s not every day that our instructors directly save someone’s life – especially a 55-year-old civilian swimmer’s life at a recreational beach. But this is exactly what occurred on Thursday, 26 August near Boardwalk #1 at Mayport Naval Station, Florida.
“The surf was extremely heavy at the time,” remarked Joe Ramirez, “and I knew the man was in trouble; I turned to signal Rick (who was still searching for the source of the cries for help in the dunes just beyond the beach) by whistling in his direction.
“The surf was extremely heavy at the time,” remarked Joe Ramirez, “and I knew the man was in trouble; I turned to signal Rick (who was still searching for the source of the cries for help in the dunes just beyond the beach) by whistling in his direction. I then ran towards the people on the beach while calling 911. When I got to them, the drowning man was still in the surf, laying on his back and making gurgling sounds. He was now completely unresponsive, so I pulled him into a recovery position and began giving the 911 operator details of my location. I signaled to Rick to wait for an emergency medical services team (EMS) in the parking lot, and passed my phone to one of the bystanders, telling her to provide further details to 911 operator.”
Gradually, Randy – who had been caught in the rough undertow of the waves – was carried out of the water to an elevated spot on the dunes above the beach, where he eventually regained consciousness and began to respond to questions as Joe Ramirez treated him for shock.
“About that time, Rick came back down to the beach and told me that Jay Imhoff (another LINNX instructor) was waiting for EMS on the other side of the dunes. Rick informed the man that EMS was on its way.”
Finally, the EMS team arrived, driving a four-wheeler over the dunes, and Rick and Joe informed them about Randy’s condition and turned him over to the team.
Rick added, “As we walked away, I noticed Randy walking under his own power to the EMS beach buggy. It’s just a good thing that we happened to be nearby and that we had the kind of water rescue, basic lifesaving, and other training that we do. Things might have turned out much differently….”