U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England Hosts Media Day

WOODS HOLE – The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England held a Media Day on Friday at their location in Woods Hole.

Members of the local media were given a behind the scenes look at Station Woods Hole, including a boat ride, tour of the command center and tour of the cutters.

Sector Southeastern New England’s area of responsibility covers over 3,000 square miles of offshore waters and 1,200 miles of Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts coastline, including the Cape and Islands.

There are currently over 420 active duty personnel in the Sector, and more than 1,200 Coast Guard Auxiliarists.

Coast Guard responsibilities include escorting Steamship Authority ferries to and from Martha’s Vineyard and Woods Hole, fisheries and boating enforcement, search and rescue missions and international vessel inspections/exams.

Station Woods Hole boasts a 110-foot and 87-foot cutters Tybee and Hammerhead who work in a number of capacities.

About 13 people can be on board Hammerhead for missions that last up to three days.

Fifteen people can be on Tybee for missions that last up to five days.

Blake Lassiter, the Executive Officer on board the Tybee, said that he’s honored to serve in Woods Hole.

“This is a place that people pay a lot of money to come and see and enjoy in the summer and we’re blessed to be out here and getting our time out here to keep those people safe and protected,” said Lassiter.

Petty Officer Nicole Groll, who also serves in the Public Affairs Office for the 1st District, echoed that statement.

“During the summer, this is where the people come, and the best way to help the people is to make sure we’re out here patrolling and making sure they stay safe,” said Groll.

In 2016, Sector Southeastern New England responded to 497 search and rescue cases, conducted over 1,300 vessel inspections/exams and assisted 593 people, saving more than 130.

So far this year, they have responded to 321 search and rescue cases, conducted 1,300 vessel inspections/exams and assisted 378 people, saving nearly 60.

Coast Guard Auxiliary members are volunteers who help the organization while active duty personnel focus on their responsibilities at their Stations.

They use their own personal boats to conduct boat checks, walking docks to ensure safety and enforcement and work to educate the public on rules and regulations.

Whenever there is a mission needing Coast Guard personnel, it is a matter of who gets there the fastest, not so much whose jurisdiction it is in.

Coordinators from the Command Center in Woods Hole would reach out to additional vessels and personnel from other Stations if needed, but sometimes multiple Coast Guard crews will be called out to assist in a situation.

Also available for the Coast Guard are Jawhawk helicopters HH-60 and HC-144, which are stationed at Joint Base Cape Cod, and help in search and rescue missions.

Some of the most frustrating situations for the Coast Guard members is unmanned kayaks that are adrift in the waters.

Since it is assumed that someone was occupying the kayak, the response would require many people who could be searching the waters for hours to recover the occupant.

So far there have been no fatalities in their area, but many happen inland, which is out of the Coast Guard’s jurisdiction.

The Coast Guard recommends that people write their name and an emergency contact number on their kayak in case their vessel runs adrift.

Members of Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England also participated in the investigation of the P/V Viking Star Cruise Ship that collided with the Canal Railroad Bridge last October and the cleanup of Sheen found in New Bedford in January.

Stations in the Sector include Station Chatham, Menemsha, Block Island, Provincetown, Cape Cod Canal, Brant Point and Point Judith.

By JUSTIN SAUNDERS, CapeCod.com Newscenter

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