At this point its name may only mean something to serious film buffs and storm watchers, but the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tamaroa (formerly the Navy fleet tug Zuni) gained fame of a sort for its service during 1991’s massive Halloween storm, chronicled in the book and movie “The Perfect Storm.”
The Tamaroa has now been sunk to a depth of 120 feet to be part of the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Reef, located 26 nautical miles southeast of Cape May, one of several old military ships that make up the artificial reef.
During the perfect storm, the 205-foot vessel first rescued three people from a sailboat. Then, battling massive swells and making eight separate approaches, the vessel rescued four of five crew members from an Air National Guard rescue helicopter that ran out of fuel and had to ditch. The fifth member was lost at sea. The Tamaroa and its crew received Coast Guard commendations for the missions.