“They say a ship’s run aground over near Harper’s Cove,” said an old man in overalls, hanging up the corded phone. There was a sense of permanence about the Coast Rescue shack, between the scratched furniture and fading paint it looked as though it had sat there near the sea for ages. The midday salty air wisped through the open windows, gently rustling the loose papers on the man’s desk. “John says it’s a real doozy.”
“That's too bad, I was hoping to spend some time in town today,” Becky rolled her eyes, but smiled as she threw on her reflective red jacket. “Do you think we’ll need help from the mainland?”
“Nah, I don’t think so. Probably nothing you can’t handle,” he smiled back, with equal measures of pride and sadness. His own safety jacket was slowly collecting dust on the back of his chair.
“Thanks, Dad,” Becky said as she grabbed the keys off the wall. Stepping past the creaky screen door and off the porch, she could feel the August sun burning down. It was almost the off-season, when things would quiet down. The rolling crashes of the cobalt waves grew louder as she descended the wooden steps down to the rocky beach. It’d be a great day to go swimming, she thought, but duty calls. The tugboat by the dock rose and fell, and with the ease of expertise she climbed on and started the engine.
The sea was rougher than it had looked from the shack, but Becky steered the tugboat with confidence. Her dad had taught her all that he knew about boat rescues and about boats in general, beginning when she was just a little girl, so she seldom felt any fear while on the ocean. It was a short ride to Harper's Cove, and Becky enjoyed the wind in her face, whipping her hair around her head, ruffling every thing on the boat that wasn't solid.
Rounding the bend along the coastline, she spotted the ship run up against the shore. It was listing badly, and obviously taking on water. She could hear the frantic cries of the tourists on board, and the shouts of the crew as they struggled to keep the ship from completely tipping over.
Grabbing the radio, she called her dad. "This is going to require more help than I can provide. You better call for backup. I'll do the best I can until they get here." And she eased her tugboat closer to the distressed ship.