While moving the boat from Comptroller Bay to Hinchinbrook Island, in the Gulf of Alaska, during a brown bear hunt, everything went wrong all at once. The weather changed, so I could not see the shoreline, the GPS died, and the wind picked up to about 35 knots. The boat got too close to the beach, and we got into breaking waves, where we rolled three times, with the mast hitting the water. A roll of line then fell into the water and fouled the propeller. We wound up on the outside beach of Hinchinbrook, forced into the rocks, and the boat went aground in a spot that was not very wide at all. We put out a May Day, and the coast guard sent a helicopter for the rescue.

When the helicopter got close, I could see his spotlight, but they could not see us, so I fired a flare at the helicopter and told them to look for it, but they did not see the flare. It was raining hard, with high winds and 15-foot breaking waves on the beach. Thankfully, I had my SureFire 6P® Original in my pocket, so I took it out and told the helicopter pilot over the radio that I would shine it at them. As soon as I did, the pilot replied, “We see you!”

The beach was too small for the helicopter to land, so we all got the full basket-ride treatment. Thankfully, no one was hurt and we all made it to safety, courtesy of my SureFire showing the rescue team the way.

Jose P.
Kodiak, AK

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