During a special presentation at the 2024 Maine Fishermen’s Forum, the Cape Elizabeth Fire Department’s Water Extrication Team (WET) was recognized for its dramatic rescue of the crew from the Maine fishing vessel Tara Lynn II. 

In the early hours of January 13, 2024, a May Day call was broadcast from the Tara Lynn II, a 49-foot fishing trawler wrecked on Trundy Point's rocks in Cape Elizabeth, ME. Four people were trapped on board.

The storm surge and record-breaking tides during Saturday's storm caused the vessel to be pushed further up on the rocks, damaging the boat's hull beyond repair. Carli Stewart photo.

The weather conditions were harrowing, with winds gusting to 50 mph and 6-foot waves crashing around the trawler.

Parker Poole of Determination Marine heard the distress call from the trawler, contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and the WET, and piloted his tow vessel towards the trawler in hopes of hauling it off the rocks.

Poole was preparing for the second oncoming storm that week changing fuel filters on his boat New Ledge when the Mayday call came through, "I heard the radio a little past midnight, and was underway within 10 minutes." Poole shared. 

Lieutenant Nate Perry and rescue swimmer Harun Laleli from the WET boarded a 10–foot inflatable rescue boat and pushed off while a historic storm battered the trawler and the Maine coast.  The weather conditions were so severe that it required several attempts to reach the grounded trawler, and Perry was briefly tossed from the inflatable but quickly recovered.  

The inflatable could not safely hold all four crew members simultaneously, so Perry and Laleli brought two to shore. Perry set out again with rescue swimmer Eric Laszlo to rescue the remaining crew.

Thanks to the safety training and heroic response of the WET, all four crew members were returned to shore unharmed. It was not possible to salvage the trawler. 

Throughout the storm, the 45-knot winds and six-foot waves battered the vessel and ran it further up the beach and into the rocks. Poole drafted a full salvage plan for the vessel, which everyone involved reviewed and approved before work could begin.

The Maine Fishermen’s Forum invited rescuers from the WET to the dinner banquet at the Samoset Resort, where the fishing community expressed its appreciation for the rescue.

Hank Soule, President of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, said, “we are grateful for these brave and highly skilled individuals. On behalf of the Forum and the entire Maine fishing community, we thank them for their extraordinary courage and commitment to the successful rescue of the crew of the Tara Lynn II.”

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