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The Coast Guard's Most Daring Rescue: Read The Story, Meet The Author

The Hollywood movie The Finest Hours is about the most daring rescue in Coast Guard history. Read the story then come to TrawlerFest-Bay Bridge and hear the man who wrote the book speak. Michael Tougias has two seminars on Saturday, Oct. 1.

The Excerpt

This excerpt is from Author Michael Tougias article for our sister publication Power & Motoryacht magazine

As the small motor lifeboat moved toward the bar, Webber and his crew began singing the hymn Rock of Ages through the sleet, snow, and freezing sea spray that bit at their flesh and cut their skin. They continued on into the white foam and crashing waves of the Chatham Bar, where they were met instantly by a wall of water that tossed their boat into the air like a small toy.

As the vessel and her crew came crashing down, another huge wave struck, this one shattering the windshield and sending shards of glass into Webber’s face and hair. The wave spun the CG36500 completely around, so her bow now faced the shore. Webber pulled himself off the deck and attempted to steer the boat back into the oncoming seas. As he tried to get his bearings, he looked down to where the compass should have been and realized that it had been ripped from its mount and was gone.

Webber had to make a quick decision: abort the mission or try yet again to get over the bar. He gave the 160-horsepower Sterling gasoline engine full throttle, pointed the bow back into the next oncoming wave, and began climbing it. Just as the wave began to break on the little wooden rescue boat, he shouted to his crew, “Hold on!” Keeping the vessel at full speed, he sent it through the top section of the roller, almost like a submarine.

When the CG36500 came out the other side of the wave, Webber was astonished to see that all three of his crewmen had somehow remained on board. They had made it over the Chatham Bar.

The Link


The Seminars

Survive & Thrive: Decision-Making From Those Who Have Overcome All Odds

Saturday, Oct 1, 10:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

 Michael Tougias

Michael Tougias

Bestselling author Michael Tougias has conducted extensive research involving people who have survived disasters and obstacles that most of us shudder to think about. He shares what he has learned about decision-making under pressure from researching his six national bestsellers: A Storm Too Soon, Overboard!, Rescue of the Bounty, Ten Hours Until Dawn, Fatal Forecast, and The Finest Hours (A Disney movie released earlier this year).

Tougias dazzles audiences by demonstrating the secrets he’s gleaned from survivors and how they channeled and managed their energy into proactive decisions that saved their lives. A rare speaker on a well-researched topic, Tougias delivers motivating stories of survival essential for anyone who dreams of going beyond the horizon.

The Finest Hours

Saturday, Oct 1, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Bestselling Author Michael Tougias caps his TrawlerFest tour-de-force witha two-part multi-media presentation about survival at sea. The first part covers his new book So Close To Home: A True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival During WWII. The second part of the program features his bestseller The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue. Chris Pine and Casey Afflect star in the Disney movie of the same name released earlier this year.

For The Finest Hours, Tougias will use slides of the storm, the sinking oil tankers, the rescues, the victims, the survivors and the heroes to tell the story of this historic event which took place in February of 1952. He will describe the harrowing attempts to rescue the seamen, especially focusing on four young Coast Guardsmen who must overcome insurmountable odds to save the lives of 32 crewmen stranded aboard the stern of the Pendleton. Standing between the men and their mission were towering waves that reached 70 feet, blinding snow, and one of the most dangerous shoals in the world, the dreaded Chatham Bar.

For So Close To Home, Tougias will also tell the story through a series of slides. This event happened in the Gulf of Mexico in 1942 when a U-boat sank a ship carrying the Downs family. Tougias describes the family’s incredible fight for survival adrift at sea, but also includes the story of the daring U-boat commander who patrolled the Gulf, even going into the mouth of the Mississippi River.


TrawlerFest is more than a seminar series. The event’s in-water boat show, runs Thursday, Sept. 29 – Saturday, Oct. 1 . Dozens of power cruisers will be open for inspection on the docks and vendors will be on hand to demonstrate products and services.

For more information, visit and navigate to TrawlerFest>Bay Bridge, or call 443-745-7785.