Under bright sunshine Saturday morning on a hill overlooking Menemsha Harbor, the men and women of Coast Guard Station Menemsha recognized members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the civilian volunteer organization that assists the Coast Guard in a variety of efforts that include boating safety checks and search and rescue.
Station Chief BMCS Jason Olsen presented certificates for Boat Crew qualification to Auxiliarists Tim Carroll of Chilmark and Glenn Deblase of West Tisbury.
The men are members of Flotilla 11-2 based in Woods Hole, which has responsibility for portions of Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, Nantucket Sound, the Elizabeth Islands and Martha’s Vineyard.
“The personnel at the station have been providing training to our members for the past two years, which has been invaluable,” Chris Scott of Edgartown, Flotilla Commander, said in an email to The Times.
Chief Olsen said that Mr. Carroll and Mr. Deblase had to undertake much of the training active duty members complete. “They spent about 18 months and 2 summers working on their certifications with our crew here,” Chief Olsen said. “They also received an operations medal for their certification.”
On June 23, the Coast Guard Auxiliary will mark its 75th anniversary. “We work with three different Auxiliary components, the Woods Hole Flotilla 11-2 island detachment, Flotilla 6-5 in Fairhaven, and Flotilla 6-18 in Westport,” Mr. Olsen said. “Their primary missions are recreational boating safety, including patrols on their vessels, courtesy vessel examinations, public education; boating safety classes, communication watchstanders at CG units and food service specialists/cooks. They have a lot of other missions, but these are the primary ones that we see in our area.”
Mr. Olsen noted that there are 6,080 Auxiliary members throughout the First District (D1), which includes the waters from Sandy Hook, N.J., to Maine, which is the largest Auxiliary contingent in the Coast Guard. The longest continually operating flotilla unit is Flotilla 63 in Onset.
“Auxiliarists are the backbone for the Coast Guard’s recreational boating safety mission,” Mr. Olsen said.
“In 2013, D1 Auxiliarists volunteered 214,671 hours in direct support of operations and day-to-day activities to augment our active duty members. That equates to 103 full-time employees working a 40-hour work week for the entire year.”
Chief Olsen noted that National Safe Boating Week starts May 17 and the Coast Guard strongly recommends boaters take a boating safety class and get a courtesy vessel examination.
Established by Congress in 1939, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary motto is Semper Paratus (Always Ready). For more information on the Coast Guard Auxiliary, go to cgaux.com.