Here, Coast Guard crew aboard a 42-foot Special Purpose Craft – Near Shore Lifeboat crashes through the surf of the Merrimack River bar located in upper Massachusetts during surf training held in March 2012. Over the course of the two days, the crews dealt with 6-15 foot breaking surf, winds of 15-35 knots, temperatures in the low 20’s, freezing spray and icing conditions with intermittent snow.
In addition to training, Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Perkins received his certification as an SPC-NLB surfman, one are the service’s most highly trained boat handlers.
Update: USCG has elected BMC William Lefever of Coast Guard Station Chatham as this week’s Shipmate of The Week for becoming the first surfman ever to be certified aboard five lifeboats.
As a highly unique craft, the lifeboat requires a skilled operator at the helm, and no one is better at the helm than Chief Petty Officer William Lefever. Lefever, the unit’s executive petty officer, recently certified as surfman aboard the lifeboat. Upon his qualification, the National Motor Lifeboat School – who retains the Register of Surfmen – notified Lefever he was the first surfman to ever be certified aboard five lifeboats: the 30-foot Surf Rescue Boat, the 42-foot Special Purpose Craft – Near Shore Lifeboat, the 44-foot Motor Life Boat, the 47-foot Life Boat and the 52-foot Heavy Weather Special Purpose Craft.