Coast Guard Auxiliary for May 24, 2012
Memorial Day is fast upon us and that means a lot of folks out on the water.
It goes without saying that even the most experienced boater needs to be extra cautious this weekend. There will be many out on the water who are infrequent or inexperienced boaters. This can be a recipe for disaster.
The National Safe Boating Council holds National Safe Boating Week leading up to Memorial Day as the unofficial start to the recreational boating season.
According to their reports, the U.S. Coast Guard identified Florida as the top-rated state for boating deaths and accidents. While the figures are from 2009, Florida ranks at the top of the list in previous years.
In 2009, the Coast Guard counted 4,730 accidents that involved 736 deaths, 3,358 injuries and approximately $36 million in damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. Of those who drowned, 84 percent were not wearing life jackets.
Please do you part to not be a statistic!
In addition to preparing for a busy weekend, the Auxiliary has been working hard the last week.
Flotilla Commander Bob Asztalos and member Mike Harrison were invited to present a water safety and safe boating talk to the first grade at Wakulla COAST Charter School in St. Marks.
Christine Saulter, the first grade teacher, invited the Auxiliary in because she is beginning a unit on water safety (including swimming, boating, etc.).
The class of 15 students learned about the buddy system, the importance of a float plan and life jacket, as well as how to call for help. It was fun class for all, including the Auxiliarists.
Several members also met down at the communications shed to continue work. The interior was painted and the exterior had a bit more preparation for a new coat of paint in the near future.
Saturday was a busy day for us as well. Tim Ashley and Duane Treadon met early Saturday morning to set up for the Armed Forces Day Car Show at the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum. Norma and Phil Hill joined later in the morning.
All enjoyed talking to the attendees about the Auxiliary and learning about the cars. Duane and Tim had the honor of selecting a participant for a Coast Guard Trophy — a 1930s Buick. A classy car that best represented the Coast Guard motto of being Semper Paratus – always ready.
Also on Saturday, Mark Rosen was coxswain aboard FinLee with owner Steve Hults and a crew of Dave Rabon, Raye Crews and David Guttman. The crew left the dock at 4 p.m. for some night training to help Dave Rabon become a fully qualified crew member.
With the help of fellow Auxiliarists Bob Asztalos and Mike Harrison, the team practiced towing Bob’s boat. In addition to helping Dave get some training, we never know what conditions we will be when we are called on for help, so we do our best to practice and make are we are ready when the call comes.
One of the other training items for new crew is to participate in night navigation. For our area, we usually head out to the center channel marker and wait for dusk before making our way back up the channel.
On Saturday night, the docks were especially crowded due to a fishing tournament and the tide was very low. Thankfully, all’s well that ends well. With less than two feet of water, the crew found an open spot and docked FinLee, calling it a night.
As our motto says, we are Semper Paratus – Always Ready. Are you?
And, as Sherrie always says, safe boating is no accident.
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