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FEATURE


SEMPER PARAT U S


The first thing I noticed when contacting and visiting the Coast Guard units serving the Outer Banks is the friendliness and a sense of being welcomed.


I was impressed by the dedication and professionalism of those at the


Coast Guard stations, whether officer or enlisted personnel; and the fact that they obviously like their jobs and take pride in what they do.


Indeed they should. The services the Coast Guard provides add much to the safety and


enjoyment of the area—from search and rescue, to law enforcement, to aids to navigation.


Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet The Oregon Inlet Coast Guard Station is manned 24 hours a day, seven


days a week. As one person working there said, “Just like a fire station.” Thirty-five people are stationed at Oregon Inlet in a well-equipped, handsome and relatively new building, complete with small bedrooms and a tower overlooking Oregon Inlet, the Bonner Bridge and beyond. The facility also has a well-stocked kitchen with three cooks on rotating shifts serving about a dozen breakfasts, 15-20 lunches, and another dozen at dinner every day.


Four boats are housed at Oregon Inlet Station. The largest are the two 47- foot motor lifeboats. Looking like a sealed tremendous capsule, they can take the punishment Outer Banks waters can dish out. With the twin engines, the boats are capable of operating in 50-knot winds, 30-foot seas, and 20-foot breaking surf. The watertight boats are designed so that if they get rolled over by heavy seas they will automatically right themselves. (One would hope so.)


8 NORTHBEACHSUN.COM NEWS, EVENTS, VIDEO & MORE


COAST GUARD ON THE OUTER BANKS ALWA Y S READ Y Photos by K. Wilkins Photography / Story by Joseph Terrell I asked Petty Officers First Class Shawn Crahen and Kenneth Akana, “When


do you feel the safest on this boat?” Almost simultaneously they answered, “When I’m driving.”


The station also has a 25-foot response boat that can operate in 25-knot winds, 6-foot seas, and at a top speed of 46 knots—and that’s fast. A special-purpose shallow-water boat, a 24-footer, rounds out the basic


water-based equipment at Oregon Inlet. During a typical year, the Oregon Inlet Station responds to as many as 100


search and rescue missions. There are many boaters walking around today who literally owe their lives to the work done by the rescuers at Oregon Inlet.


In addition to search and rescue, the Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet conducts about 120 law enforcement boardings of recreational watercraft a year to check for proper safety equipment, registrations, and the like. They also board fishing boats—approximately 60 a year—to make sure fishing regulations are being adhered to.


Supporting to the work done by Coast Guard personnel, the local Coast


Guard Auxiliary—Flotilla 1607—got high marks and praise from all the Outer Banks facilities for the work they are doing. The Flotilla conducts boat safety classes and provides volunteer logistical support.


Aids to Navigation Team, Wanchese


The Coast Guard’s ANT, or Aids to Navigation Team, at Wanchese doesn’t make headlines. Their whole purpose is to make sure the many boaters— recreational and commercial—plying the waters of the Outer Banks don’t make headlines either.


The ANTs provide safe passage. FALL 2013


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