Letters, July 18 edposted: 7/22/2014
The city of Newport Beach and the local community lost a true hero Sunday, July 6, when Newport Beach Lifeguard Ben Carlson courageously entered the challenging and turbulent waters off Newport Beach to save a swimmer in distress. Ben’s actions, while at great personal cost, saved yet another life in the storied career of this young waterman. The uncommon bravery he demonstrated is testament to the collective efforts of those who protect us in the open waters off of Newport Beach. Tragically, Ben paid the supreme sacrifice during what was to be his final rescue.
Ben was an experienced and skilled lifeguard, having worked for Newport Beach as an ocean lifeguard for the last 15 years. His commitment to duty, and fearlessness in the face of sometimes dangerous waters, whether at the infamous Wedge, in the surf near 18th Street, or the rocky shores off Little Corona have helped to save untold lives throughout his celebrated, albeit abruptly shortened career. Ben Carlson was the nameless, faceless soldier of water safety guarding residents and visitors in a community that seldom realizes how much they need him. His work, whether standing watch while posted at a tower, patrolling the beach in a jeep, or as a deckhand on a rescue boat was performed quickly and quietly many times over on a day when the water was angry as it was last Sunday. This time Ben got his rescue, but the Ocean took Ben.
In a world where the truth has become more of a commodity, and person-to-person communication has all too often been replaced by an electronic interface, Ben and his colleagues risk life and limb while wearing little more protection than sun block. Lifeguard Ben Carlson’s actions on Sunday, where his final act in life was to save the life of a stranger, serves to illustrate what a fine man Ben was, and the unwavering commitment to duty of this Hero of the Harbor in a final selfless epilogue.
Negative feedback on Virtual Synthetic ATONs
In response to The Log’s June20-July 3 article regarding Coast Guard consideration of replacing a recently sunk San Diego buoy with a “Virtual Synthetic ATON"; why would the Coast Guard spend one dime of tax payer's money on such deliberations is mystifying.
As a decade's long veteran of aerospace and space engineering I know safety. The strength of the Buoy is its multi faceted, multi layered visual and audible physical presence. To replace it with a virtual 21st century presence is a huge step backwards and puts most of the recreational boater community at risk.
Unless you are a certified commercial or military vessel with "fail safe" redundant design built in, any electronics on board the recreational vessel (and many boaters do not have any) is highly susceptible to failure. This includes the AIS, which most boaters do not have. Even if made mandatory it will be susceptible to a "single point failure". All boaters know this.
Spending valuable Coast Guard and public time on this discussion is misguided and if implemented can't maintain the level of recreational boating safety we enjoy today. We are aware, based on previous discussions, that the Coast Guard is looking to reduce expenditure on the deployment and maintenance of many area buoys but this issue is simple physics.