Everyone in the maritime world, including all of America, watched the improbable happen in St. Simons Sound when the 660-foot Golden Ray flipped on her side early Sunday morning.

It could have been a disaster, but it wasn’t.

Almost everyone had been rescued that morning, three others the next day. The last guy came out Monday night.

It was a professional, coordinated effort by all sorts of men and women in the naval and shipping industries, including sea-going law enforcement, all parts of an established nautical culture, our heritage.

It was such a success that it will likely fade from the national news with the same velocity it assumed prominence.

The national news thrives on travesty or tragedy. It will go away, and so much the better.

Now the hard work begins. There will be petrochemical spills and leaks. There will be problems righting this huge ship. There will be problems, period.

St. Simons Sound is one of the most nutritious estuaries on the Atlantic coast, and I believe I know of what I speak. The Golden Ray is sitting in popular cut on the north end of Jekyll Island, a place I caught and released a 20-pound channel bass two years ago.

This must be protected, and we can only hope the recovery will receive the same attention the rescue has achieved, but we also assume it will not.

Regardless of that, those who live or visit here will still know there are very experienced mariners who can answer the call when a disaster threatens, and that south Georgians know how to take care of their own, visitors or residents.

Mark Jicha

St. Simons Island

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