Sea captain promoted merchant fleet careers
David Lyman / Harbor Pilot
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Everyone who knew David Lyman knew the ocean was his life, from ship captains whose vessels he brought safely into harbor to youngsters he encouraged into maritime careers.
The veteran ship's pilot died Sunday night after falling into the ocean off Nawiliwili Harbor on Kauai. Lyman, 62, fell while climbing down a ladder on the cruise ship Island Princess. He had just guided the ship out of harbor and was returning to the harbor pilot boat.
Kauai Fire Chief Robert Westerman said Lyman was injured by the pilot boat. Firefighters of the Lihue company attempted to resuscitate him, according to a written announcement. Lyman was pronounced dead at Wilcox Hospital.
U.S. Coast Guard marine safety investigators are investigating the death. The cruise ship was permitted to continue on its interisland voyage, and investigators will interview crew members and passengers along the route, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Brooksann Epiceno.
Lyman, a pilot for 30 years, held the top rank of captain and was qualified to pilot the largest ships. He was "well known not only throughout Hawaii, but well across the United States and throughout the international seafaring world," said Tom Heberle, president of the Hawaii Pilots Association, in a written statement. "We will miss Dave's years of experience and expertise."
Lyman was a crewman on the Polynesian Voyaging Society's sailing canoe Hokule'a on its 1976 maiden voyage and captain of the March 1978 voyage that ended when the canoe capsized south of Molokai. Lyman and 15 other crew members were rescued by the Coast Guard. Crew member Eddie Aikau, who left the overturned boat on a surfboard to seek help, was never found.
"He really loved what he was doing, everything about ships and the ocean," said fellow Hokule'a crewman Bruce Blankenfeld. He said Lyman's "deep history of a tie to the ocean ... was both practical and spiritual. He was educated on the practical side as far as seamanship and piloting. Being a part-Hawaiian, he understood the spiritual side of life. He had a deep respect for the ocean and the spiritual side of being on the ocean."
James "Kimo" Lyman said his brother was "instrumental in getting a lot of kids to go the maritime schools. He did a lot of speaking to schoolchildren. ... He would speak about his love of the ocean ... write letters of recommendation, take them out on the job to show them the ropes, tell about how many places they can see and how much they can earn."
Kimo Lyman, pilot of the Honolulu Fire Department's Honolulu harbor fireboat, said he and his brother shared the captain role on the 1995 Hokule'a voyage from Vancouver, Canada, to San Diego and participated in yacht racing and sailing between Hawaii and the West Coast.
He is survived by wife Laurie Ikehara-Lyman, son Belden, daughters Rebekka and Danielle, brothers Kimo and Daniel, and sister Marion Lyman-Mersereau.