My first adventure at the Coast Guard Auxiliary

I joined the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary last month. It is essentially a corps of volunteers who give their time and lend their boats to serve their country. The primary mission of the Auxiliary is to promote boating safety, but members can also help the Coast Guard in all operations that are not of a military or law-enforcement nature, including safety patrols, environmental response, search and rescue operations, administrative support, information technology, translation, etc.  They guys at the Grand Valley flotilla (Grand Rapids/Muskegon) are super awesome and very active. Just last Saturday, I was invited to participate in the first of many boat crew classes… at the Muskegon Coast Guard station!

USCG Auxiliary: Always Ready... Always Adventurous!

USCG Auxiliary: Sempter Paratus... Semper Adventuram!

We brought lunch for the “coasties” (Cost Guard personnel), who are all very social and hard working. It was nice to sit down and share a meal with them, while hearing their cool stories.  We also got a tour of the station, and then immediately got started with training. We covered basic safety, including fatigue and hypothermia, and even had a chance to see the equipment we’ll be wearing on patrols: life vests with tons of cool stuff in them! We were going to shoot some flares, but the people who were supposed to bring them forgot to do so. 🙂  So that will happen next time. Still, we did get a chance to learn the basics of nautical charts. We looked at the chart of Lake Muskegon and the channel, and identified hazards, signals, depths, danger areas, areas we may want to watch during patrols, and even found the marines were some members keep their boats. 🙂  Overall, it was a great day!

I look forward to more training. I want to get certified as a boat crewman so I can go out on patrols. That would be so much fun!  I also want to help perform safety checks and operate Coastie, a 45-inch robot used during public events to promote safety with kids.

About Gabriel Mongefranco

Gabriel Mongefranco is your software developer for all things data: extraction, integration, analytics and security. He is also a blogger, a poet, a proud father and a faithful Christian. He is always eager to contract with faith-based nonprofits! Learn more.