I would never have guessed that somebody is tasked with “shark watch” when the crew is in the water, but nevertheless, I stand corrected.
I also wouldn’t have taken the United States Coast Guard for giant inflatable unicorn people, but once again, I stand corrected.
According to a post on the United States Coast Guard’s Facebook page, the crew was training out as they put it, “a zillion miles from land,” when the end of hard day’s work called for some fun in the water, AKA swim call.
“We had a fully vetted and tested plan we’ve used before, conducted safety briefs, established communications between the various stations, launched our small boat with extra crew and a dressed out swimmer and stationed it 50 yards off the ship, set an armed shark watch, opened and manned the Rescue Station, and put an accountability system in place.
Everything was by the numbers. Everyone was having a great day. Everyone was smiling and having fun. It was perfect! And then… Bridge personnel reported “Shark!” over the radio.”
ME1 Cintron, who was on shark watch (yep, that’s a real thing) immediately locked eyes on the target (an 8-foot Long-Fin Mako or Pelagic Thresher Shark), got the green light from the Chief and peppered that SOB with fire while his shipmates could swim to safety.
The shark turned away but then turned back, more shots fired, the shark turned away, but then turned back, more shots fired and finally everybody was able to get to safety.
The shark was uninjured (I’ve seen enough Mythbusters to know that bullets don’t really work too far under the water) and the only injury was a crew member who scraped his knee getting back into the boat.
“But where was it located you ask? On his knee….in the center of a tattoo. What tattoo you ask? An open set of shark’s teeth. Seriously, you can’t make this up!”
And what did the crew watch on the Flight Deck later that night… “JAWS” followed by “Sharknado” (seriously).
They called it “one of the most amazing events many of us have ever experienced at sea.”