Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Coast Guard Auxiliary: Helping yourself while helping others.

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by AUX Gary Nordlinger, The Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Each year the Coast Guard invests millions of dollars training auxiliarists in areas such as leadership, seamanship, public affairs, website design, instruction, and facilitation. Like active duty Coast Guard personnel, auxiliarists undergo background checks as part of their enrollment process to determine their suitability for service.

Auxiliarists are trained to Coast Guard standards and regularly serve alongside the active duty in various capacities and at venues ranging from cutters to command centers, medical facilities, and Coast Guard headquarters.

Accomplishments: In 2009, USCG Auxiliarists donated more than 4.5 million hours to public safety and support of the U.S. Coast Guard. Public outreach programs are among our most important activities, and span a wide range of missions, as noted below.

  • Vessel safety checks: Auxiliarists conduct about 100,000 complimentary vessel safety checks each year on recreational craft to make sure safety equipment is in working order and sufficient in quantity and the vessel is seaworthy.

  • Public education classes: Each year thousands of boaters complete auxiliary courses on boating skills, seamanship, navigation, sailing, and other related topics.

  • Marine dealer visits: Auxiliarists make tens of thousands of visits each year to businesses selling boats and boating-related products to stock public displays of boating safety literature and publicize upcoming boating safety classes.

  • Public affairs: In 2009 alone, auxiliarists devoted more than 180,000 hours staffing booths at boat shows, giving presentations to civic and educational organizations, and reaching out to the news media and boating public regarding boating safety and maritime security.

  • Legislative outreach: Auxiliarists maintain close relationships with state legislatures, state boating administrators, and other public and non-profit organizations.

  • Coast Guard recruiting: Hundreds of auxiliarists support Coast Guard active duty recruiting efforts and also visit high schools to encourage students to consider applying to the Coast Guard Academy.

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