Without fail, crowds gather at Sporthaven Beach whenever one of the 47-foot motor life boats from the U.S. Coast Guard Chetco River Station practice in large storm waves.
It was no different Wednesday, when two of the boats motored backwards and forwards into the impact zone, often being swamped by 10- to 12-foot swells.
But it wasn't all fun and games for the Coast Guard crews; they also served as guardians, standing nearby as they helped direct commercial fishing boats through the jetties and across the turbulent bar of the Chetco River.
The main duties of the Coast Guard is search and rescue, and law enforcement. The Chetco River Station members participate in 200 to 250 search and rescues each year, often teaming up with local authorities. The station is responsible for covering District 11, which spans the Oregon border to Cape Blanco and 50 miles out to sea.
The crew is required to be ready at a moment's notice, 24-hours a day. They spend countless hours practicing on and off shore and keeping their equipment and vessels prepped for action.
The Coast Guard motto is Semper Paratus, which is Latin for "always ready." Anyone who witnessed the action off Sporthaven Beach this week knows it's true.