Catalina Island News

Veteran Avalon Harbor Patrol Officer retires

City of Avalon

City of Avalon Harbor Patrol Officer Brian Dawes retired July 1 after 29 years of serving the boating public.
Dawes's storied career began in October, 1980 as a harbor sanitation worker, or trash boy, where he stood out assisting the boaters.

When John Phelps, who was the harbormaster at the time, noticed how meticulous Dawes was with his duties he promoted him to harbor patrol officer in 1981. For several years Dawes worked his way through the graveyard shift and onto swing shift, always looking out for and assisting the boating public.

His time with the department allowed him to build his seniority, which landed him on dayshift. It was during this tenure that Dawes responded to several emergency calls during any given year. This challenged him to better himself by successfully pursing his 100-Ton US Coast Guard Captain's License with several endorsements. He furthered his career by attending several classes to obtain certificates from the State of California Department of Boating and Waterways.

Dawes career culminated with him being promoted to Harbor Patrol Officer II in June, 2007. He achieved this milestone after receiving him Emergency Medical Technician certification in Los Angeles County and the State of California.

He has proudly assisted boaters in various situations including boat fires, storms, sinkings, medical calls, towings, wrap-ups and just giving them a friendly smile and kind words.

Some of Brian's memorable moments included towing a burning boat away from the fuel dock before anything else catastrophic could happen and being a spotter off White's Landing when an F-18 crashed on the island. Dawes received a commendation from then Mayor Hugh T. "Bud" Smith for his actions in saving a female boater who was face down and unconscious in the water when he arrived on scene. According to the commendation, his quick actions saved her life.

Brian's other passion in life is his involvement over the past nine years with Avalon Kids Baseball. Brian has given tirelessly of his time and energy to make lives better for many of Avalon's youth. He started out as a manager and has served as secretary, treasurer, vice president and director.

For the last year, Dawes has gallantly tried to recover from a serious knee injury he sustained while assisting the boating public.

Dawes was decommissioned with honors on Tuesday, June 30, with Harbormaster Brian Bray, his coworkers, friends, family and boaters present.