For a few years, I was an avid Deadliest Catch fan. I couldn’t believe how dangerous the job could be. Getting a foot caught in the line when throwing out the nets could mean going overboard and drowning. Then there are the frigid waters, the huge swells, the crab pots shifting on the boat. No thanks! But I enjoyed the suspense and drama.
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When the kids and I went to the library, I saw Deadliest Sea by Kalee Thompson sitting on the recently returned shelf. What a good find!
This non-fiction book documents one of the Coast Guard’s most dramatic and dangerous rescues. In the spring of 2008, the fishing vessel Alaska Ranger starts filling with water. They are far out to sea, many hours away from rescue. All 47 crew members get on deck and don their “Gumbi” suits, which are supposed to keep the frigid water off their bodies and out of their noses and mouths.
Obviously, waiting for rescue on the boat is much better than waiting in the water, so the crew waits. Then, suddenly, the boat’s electricity goes out and the boat jerks into reverse. At that moment, the boat begins to turn on its side. The captain orders the men to abandon ship, but that’s not so easy to do on a boat that is listing. It’s the middle of the night, winds are howling at over 35 miles per hour, and there is a snow squall surrounding them.
This intense story then documents the heroic efforts of both the rescuers and some of the Alaska Ranger’s crew members. The tension in the story is high, and on more than one night, I stayed up later than I should have just to read what happened next.
The book also highlights how many fishing companies regularly skimp on safety precautions, often at the cost of their workers’ lives.
If you like shows like the Deadliest Catch, you’ll enjoy this book. The only difficulty I had with it was that there were so many people on the boat and so many rescuers that I had trouble keeping all of the names and people straight. I wish there had been a picture for each person mentioned so I could develop their image further in my mind.
4.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.