Thursday, October 1, 2009


Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard “Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council” magazine.

Established in 1939, the 35,000-plus-member U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary assists the Coast Guard as a force multiplier. Members receive special training so they may be a functional part of Team Coast Guard, a role that continues to grow as the Coast Guard expands its homeland security mission.

Auxiliarists assist the Coast Guard in non-law enforcement programs such as public education, vessel safety checks, safety patrols, and search and rescue. They volunteer more than 2,000,000 hours annually to benefit other boaters and provide operational and administrative support to many local Coast Guard units.

On the water, auxiliary vessels completing missions for the Coast Guard are marked with patrol signboards bearing the red slash of the Coast Guard. So equipped, these vessels become Coast Guard vessels and are no longer civilian boats. Their crews are trained to rigorous standards and are prepared to meet the challenges of a variety of marine situations.

The safety patrols directly support the Coast Guard’s maritime safety responsibilities and provide important visual benefits to the public as well. When the public sees a Coast Guard vessel underway, they know that distress assistance is available. The auxiliary is also a great force multiplier that provides not only on-water crowd control and spectator safety during regattas and other marine events, but also opportunities for the public to obtain boating safety information.

Even at the dock, one may spot an auxiliarist performing his or her duties. The auxiliary performs vessel safety checks to help achieve voluntary compliance with recreational boating safety laws, particularly regarding safety equipment. This helps heighten awareness of critical safety issues through one-on-one contact with a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel examiner. A “seal of safety” decal is awarded upon successful completion of the vessel safety check, and attests that the vessel is in compliance with boating requirements.

When not near the water, auxiliarists provide boating safety classes, fostering a wider knowledge of—and better compliance with—the laws, rules, and regulations governing the operation of recreational vessels.

For more information:
Full article and “U.S. Coast Guard Western Rivers Sectors” edition of USCG Proceedings is available at Click on “archives” and then “2007-08 Vol. 64, Number 4” (Winter 2007-08).

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