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U.S. Coast Guard SAR Demonstration at the Oyster Festival on October 16

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at the Oyster Fest on

Land and Sea, October 16 and 17

This year’s Oyster Festival, Oct. 16 and 17, will have a special U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue (SAR) demonstration at the Oyster Festival said Joe Orlich, Flotilla Commander U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in Oyster Bay.

A rescue swimmer from a Jayhawk HH-60 helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, whose area of operations encompasses Long Island, will simulate rescuing a “victim” of a boating incident in the water. The demonstration area will be secured by local Auxiliary members in their “Operational Facilities” which are private boats equipped to USCG standards operated by Auxiliarists who have received specialized training as coxswains and boat crew members. This event is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 16 at 1:30 p.m.

Cindy Smith, Oyster Festival press liaison, said “People will be able to get a good view of what is happening on the waterfront – seated on bleachers set up on the pier.”

The event was announced by Flotilla Commander Joe Orlich as he gave a rundown of the great things in store for visitors to the Oct. 16 and 17 Oyster Festival, located along the Western Waterfront in Oyster Bay and which included ships and helicopters.

Commander Orlich was speaking on behalf of Steve Pollock, commanding officer of U.S. Coast Guard Station Eatons Neck, who was out of state on a training mission.

Commander Orlich said, “We are the volunteer arm of the U.S. Coast Guard. We are sent on missions and do activities for the Coast Guard including public education, vessel safety examinations and volunteering at Eaton’s Neck. There are 1,200 auxiliary members in this sector who serve the 500 active duty Coast Guard members and 200 reservists.

“Our auxiliary members act as ‘Watchstanders’ at Coast Guard stations, working the radios and telephones along with monitoring Coast Guard and Auxiliary vessels on patrol or conducting search and rescue missions. We also assist in the galley preparing food for active duty members. These jobs as well as others are performed by Auxiliary members who volunteer their time to help out the Coast Guard missions and support their work. They do these jobs only after they have received extensive training and have demonstrated their proficiency to U.S. Coast Guard and Auxiliary standards.

Commander Orlich said, “Additionally, the USCG cutter Chinook, a marine safety patrol boat used in law enforcement, will be docked at the Western Waterfront pier. It will be open for people to see.”

“Commander Pollack will also be sending one of Eatons Neck Station’s 41-foot utility patrol boats (UTB). The twin-engine patrol vessel does law enforcement and marine patrols and is a general workhorse of multi-mission units like Eatons Neck. It may work along with the helicopter during the Oysterfest.”

Commander Orlich added, “Also on display will be a 25-foot Defender Class Boat, a twin engine inflatable boat that is capable of speeds in excess of 50 MPH. It will be on static display next to the Oyster Bay’s USCG Auxiliary Boating Safety display on West End Avenue.

“We will be giving out information on our boating safety classes, as well as doing recruitment for our auxiliary unit. Our ongoing courses educate the public on boating safety and seamanship skills as well as using Global Positioning System devices,” said Commander Orlich. Information on these and others courses offered by the USCG Auxiliary can be cobtained by calling 624-USCGX.

Boating Safety

Teaching safety skills is really important, as shown in a statement by Jim Vass of Port O’Connor, Texas: the new Coast Guard Auxiliary National Commodore.

Commodore Vass challenged the Coast Guard Auxiliary, “to reduce deaths on our waterways.”

He said, “We need to recommit ourselves to improving recreational boating safety and making a serious dent in reducing the recreational boating death growth rates.”

He said, “The year 2009 saw an increase of 3.8 percent in recreational boating deaths because people fail to wear life jackets, are inattentive, and consume alcohol while operating boats. Nearly 75 percent of the 736 people who died in boating accidents in 2009 drowned, and 84 percent of those victims reportedly were not wearing a life jacket. “Our waterways should be fun, not places where you lose your life” commented Mr. Vass.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary created by an Act of Congress in 1939 is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard, supporting the Coast Guard in nearly all its missions.

Fun for the Kids

Commander Orlich said this year again they will have “Coastie”, their interactive robot on West End Avenue. “The kids enjoy Coastie,” he said. “This is the seventh year the Coast Guard Auxiliary has been a part of the Oyster Festival.” Coastie educates children about boating safety, and is used nationwide.

There will be lots of excitement for the children since the pirate Kings of the Coast will be filling the air with shouts and song as well as performing pirate-daring-do for festival goers. The festival is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bus shuttle service is available from the Syosset LIRR station.