Rescue at Water's Edge: The U.S. Merchant Marine Response to 9/11 Rescue at Water's Edge: The U.S. Merchant Marine Response to 9/11 To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, members of the U.S. Merchant Marine share how they helped evacuate people from lower Manhattan and brought supplies and first responders back to the World Trade Center site. More than 300,000 people were evacuated by water on 9/11 - the largest unplanned water evacuation in the history of the United States.