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Hurricane Bob | The Hurricane Nobody Took Seriously

The magnitude of what they had been through wouldn’t become apparent until the next morning: Of the estimated 150 boats in Provincetown Harbor, 38 had sunk on their moorings. Another 45 boats had broken free and beached along the shore.

Two factors, one natural, one human, kept the toll from being much higher. As luck would have it, Bob struck during low tide, saving a great deal of property from much worse damage. And Officer Curtis had ordered the Coast Guard 44 off its mooring with a solid crew on board.

As reports from around the Northeast came in, it was soon apparent that this small boat may have been the only Coast Guard vessel active during the hurricane. Without doubt, Ken Cope and his crew recorded the most rescues performed anywhere on the coast that day.

“I’ll tell you, I’ve never seen anyone work that hard retrieving boats,” says Jimmy Costa, who watched from the shore. “It’s amazing they did what they did in the conditions they were in. I could see the bottom of their boat at times, I could see his paint job, I could see his propellers coming out of the water. They were right on their side. Just to maneuver, let alone tow, is unbelievable. I don’t know how those guys were working lines. They saved an unbelievable amount of money and grief. I’m still shocked nobody drowned.”

“The crew kept me together,” says Cope. “They performed perfectly. I couldn’t have asked for any more. Even when the anchor wouldn’t come out and the engine wouldn’t start, they didn’t panic. But I’ll tell you, that’s nine hours I never want to do again.”

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