December 18, 1944 - August 2, 2023
Obituaries » Richard C. Hiscock
Richard C. Hiscock
December 18, 1944 – August 2, 2023
Richard Carson Hiscock passed away on August 2, 2023, in Burlington, Vermont. The son of Earl Hiscock and Alice Carson, Richard was born in Washington, D.C. but moved to Chatham, Massachusetts in 1951 where he developed a love for the water as well as a respect for the dangers of the sea.
Richard would often row into Chatham from his home to school or shop. When his mother’s oldest friend, Julia Child, would come over for lunch, Richard would walk to the end of their lane and dig up fresh clams to serve their guest.
While attending American University, Richard received his draft notice. As a conscientious objector to the war in Vietnam, Hiscock chose to serve his commitment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts.
Richard’s father had worked for the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation and later the U.S. Coast Guard when these agencies were merged. During that time, the senior Hiscock developed safety standards and equipment that are still used today to protect those at sea.
This legacy continued with Richard’s love of the sea and maritime safety. Hiscock worked as a newspaper photographer, on lobster boats, as an Assistant Harbor Master in Chatham, as an insurance investigator for accidents that occurred on commercial fishing vessels and wrote a safety manual for commercial fishermen. During this time, he developed an expertise in commercial fishing vessel safety, U.S. Coast Guard laws and regulations, as well as maritime safety. In 1984 the Coast Guard issued Richard a Coast Guard Public Service Commendation. The citation reads, “Since 1980, Mr. Hiscock has been actively involved in advancing [the protection of life and property at sea] through legislative and regulatory review and by providing critical input. For the past two years, Mr. Hiscock has been a driving force behind the rewrite and republication of the First District Fishermen’s Digest.”
The 1983, the tragic sinking of the freighter Marine Electric resulted in significant improvements in the marine safety field – and importantly – the establishment of the Coast Guard’s Rescue Swimmer Program. Despite the official opposition to the creation of this program by the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Richard gathered information needed for his Member of Congress, Rep. Gerry Studds (OMA), to force the Coast Guard to institute this program which has saved thousands of lives. As Richard said after seeing a story about a Rescue Swimmer saving people on Lake Champlain, “It makes you feel good in the same way that it makes the rescue swimmers feel good, particularly when it’s a situation in which the rescue swimmer made the difference between life and death.”
In 1996 Richard married the love of his life, Ginger. They bought a farm in Vermont to care for rescued horses – while Richard continued his advocacy for maritime safety.
Richard went on to serve as a Senior Professional Staff for the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007 and helped write the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2008 and many other marine safety provisions of law.
Richard’s legacy will live on as mariners go to sea and return home safely to their families.