Coast Guardsman helps boater who crashed into seawall in North Charleston

Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 3:33 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 25, 2022 at 7:44 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Coast Guardsmen jumped into action to help an injured boater after a vessel crashed into a seawall near the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center on the Cooper River in North Charleston.

The crash happened at around 9:30 p.m. on Friday.

“I was outside playing a game of corn hole with some of my fellow classmates when we heard a boat coming by and a loud crash,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Clifford Marshall said.

Marshall is currently a student at the training center and is based out of St. Louis.

He said once he heard the crash, he saw the boat up against the seawall and ran inside to tell his superiors to call base security and to call 9-1-1 for help.

He then ran toward the seawall and shimmied for several minutes on the rusted seawall, cutting his hands in the process, to reach the spot where the boat was, being the first person on the scene.

“My hands were about eye high on me,” Marshall said. “My feet were on a knife-edge, and I just had to walk sideways on it for about 100 yards to get out there.”

Once he got there, he said he made sure the boater was the only one on board and assessed the person’s injuries before help arrived.

“After doing some of that, I signaled to the fire boat that was coming in the area where I was at, announced myself as U.S. Coast Guard, told them I was there to help,” Marshall said. “Then, I began assisting them putting the individual onto the backboard and moving them from that vessel onto their vessel after we had to move some of the damage from the boat there.”

Coast Guard Lt. Nathan Ryan, an instructor at the training center, said Marshall’s actions are part of what the military branch stands for.

“The Coast Guard’s motto is Semper Paratus, always ready, and I believe that Petty Officer Marshall’s actions were indicative of that motto,” Ryan said. “We’re always ready. We rely on our training and our instincts that we’ve gathered from that.”

Marshall has since gotten tetanus shots for his cuts, but that doesn’t matter to him -- only that a person in trouble needed help.

“I don’t think anyone else wouldn’t have done that as well if they had that opportunity. Just did my best,” Marshall said.

The petty officer said he was in the right place at the right time and just a Coast Guardsmen doing his duty.

Authorities said the boater suffered significant injuries and was transported to MUSC.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is continuing to investigate the crash.

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