Lake City resident joins Coast Guard Auxilary
LAKE CITY, S.C. –
Joseph Woodbury, a technology coach with Florence County School District Three, decided last year to fulfill a dream and get a boat when he realized commanding a boat is not like driving a car. “When you stop a boat, the boat doesn’t stop; the current takes it, the wind takes it, the tide takes it,” said Woodbury, “and the slower you go the less control you have,” he said.
Woodbury realized he wanted and needed to know more about water safety, boating regulations and navigational aids.
“I talked to the coast guard about training and they said ‘why don’t you join us,’” said Woodbury.
And that is just what the Lake City boater decided to do; Woodbury was sworn in to the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 12-8 of Charleston April 14 by Flotilla Commander Paul Thomas and witnessed by Vice Commander Paul Berka at the Brass Buckle Education Building at the Charleston Coast Guard Station.
Woodbury will be training with the coast guard on their vessels and is looking forward to going on patrols and learning about what it takes to be safe on the waterways.
“I’ll get to learn the Ashley River, Charleston Harbor and then the Cooper River,” he said. “So, as a crew member in training on a coast guard boat I’ll know where to go and where not to go, and then I’ll be able to take my boat out more comfortably.”
Woodbury committed to serving two weekends and two weekday evenings a month as a Coast Guard Auxiliary member and Woodbury said he will learn what he needs to know to boat safely while performing his duties. Those duties will include marine safety, patrols, checking buoys, and vessel inspections.
“As I inspect all these other boats, I’m learning what my boat needs to have,” said Woodbury.
Woodbury said he was told during training that roughly 80 percent of boaters haven’t taken boating courses. They “just bought a boat, put it in the water and started driving it,” he said.
“They don’t know about the navigation aids, they don’t know about boater safety, and I just want to learn enough about this so I can share it and make the waterways safer for everyone, not just me,” he said.
Woodbury likened being an auxiliary member to being a part of the National Guard in that when on duty a member is just like a full-time member of the service.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary was established by Congress in 1939 under title 14 of the United States Code. Congress authorized the Auxiliary to support all USCG missions, other than those related to direct engagement in either law enforcement activities or military combat operations. The law stated that the purpose of the Auxiliary is to assist the Coast Guard in the following areas:
To promote safety and effect rescues on and over the high seas and navigable waters;
To promote efficiency in the operation of motorboats and yachts;
To foster a wider knowledge of, and better compliance with the laws, rules, and regulations governing the operation of motorboats and yachts;
To facilitate other operations of the Coast Guard.
For more information visit the USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 12-8 of Charleston, SC website: http://www.uscgauxcharleston.org/index.htm.
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