Ferry workers commended for dramatic Edmonds rescue


Flanked by Coast Guard officials, Capt. John Tullis and Able Seamen Seth Hamlin and Marjorie Hess await presentation of their commendations.

Washington State Ferries employees who rescued two divers in distress at the Edmonds dive park on March 27 were honored Tuesday by the U.S. Coast Guard, which presented them with a Public Service Award.

The award is one of the highest honors the Coast Guard gives to civilians, and reflects the USCG’s commitment to preserving life at sea, said Rear Admiral Gary T. Blore, who made the presentations Tuesday at the Colman Ferry Dock.

Those honored were John Tullis, captain of the ferry Spokane, and Able Seamen Seth Hamlin and Marjorie Hess.

According to the commendation, while departing the Edmonds ferry dock on a scheduled run to Kingston March 27, Capt. Tullis and the crew of the Spokane received a report of a diver in distress at the Edmonds dive park.  Tullis and his crew quickly spotted the person in trouble and “responded immediately and professionally,” maneuvering the ferry to within a quarter mile of the ferry dock and launching a rescue boat, with Hamlin and Hess aboard.

Hess and Hamlin were able to retrieve a motionless female diver from the water, bring her on board and perform CPR on her, during which time she expelled water and began breathing. After passing off the woman diver to police waiting at the Brackett’s Landing beach, the crew received another diver in distress report and returned to the water to rescue an exhausted man clinging to a buoy within the dive park.

After removing the man’s dive gear and rolling him into the boat using the vessel’s recovery cradle, the crew transported the fatigued diver to the beach, where paramedics were able to provide first aid.

“These situations resulted in positive outcomes for two individuals who otherwise may not have survived if not for the quick response and actions of the Spokane crew,” the commendation noted.

According to ferry officials present at Tuesday’s ceremony, ferry employees are well-trained to assist in these types of emergencies and often participate in rescue missions on the water.

“This is an example of the type of hard work, dedication and public service that ferry employees embark on every day,” said David Moseley, assistant secretary for the Washington State Ferries.

  1. Way to go, people! That woman, in particular, was very lucky to have you there, A few minutes more, and she would probably not survived.

  2. This is an example of the type of hard work, dedication and public service that ferry employees embark on every day,” said David Moseley, assistant secretary for the Washington State Ferries.

    The above, is when they aren’t charging in triple overtime, or coaching baseball while clocked in, or getting paid to travel to and from work, or……

  3. This is the kind of action that really makes a difference in the lives of those helped, but also in the lives of people like me…looking for the good news and good deeds happening all around us.

    Hooray for the efforts of these folks from the ferry service. Hooray also to the person who gripes about spending and perceived waste; I am sure you are figuring out a way to take action, and not just complain, such as visiting your representatives in Olympia or finding constructive ways to channel your concerns. Good on ya!

  4. It’s great that the ferry staff are so well trained, and they should be commended for their life saving efforts! I also agree with the above poster, send your message to your reps in Olympia about overtime, paid to travel to/from work, etc…and I’ll bet there are other state agencies guilty of the same thing.

  5. This is a great story however I was a bit confused as to why the first patient who it seemed needed the most help medically was handed off to the Police while the second patient who received only “First Aid” was transferred to Paramedics.

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