The Surfrider Foundation has turned to data mapping in the quest to help save a U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter in Newport.


A cartographer working with the California-based nonprofit environmental group used seven years of incident response data from the Coast Guard to demonstrate the value of a rescue helicopter in Newport to commercial fishermen, recreational boaters and surfers on the central Oregon Coast.


Last year, the Coast Guard wanted to withdraw a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Newport because of budget constraints. Search and rescue operations would have been handled by crews at Air Station North Bend to the south and Air Station Astoria to the north, roughly 45 minutes to an hour in flight time from Newport.


While the Coast Guard maintained that emergency response times would still have fallen within its two-hour national standard, commercial fishermen, recreational boaters and surfers countered that the cold water and rough seas along the central Oregon Coast demand swifter reaction to save lives.


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