Apr 222013
 

Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay, Monday for Surfman Brian Ballenger

Coast Guard Station
Yaquina Bay, Monday
for Surfman Brian Ballenger

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Two more Surfman candidates are expected to be inducted into the ranks of Surfman next Spring

Surfman Brian Gallenger
Two more Surfman candidates are expected to be inducted into the ranks of Surfman next Spring

It’s been a busy Spring for Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay. Thanks to a very strong wind and surf-blown winter, the Coast Guard Surfman’s training program was able to stay very busy subjecting candidates to all kinds of perilous seas and surf to make them ready to command their own motor lifeboats. A Surfman designation is a very prestigious and tradition honored position in the Coast Guard among non-commissioned officers. During rescues along shore or on the high seas, the Surfman is the one in command of every detail of operations. It is under the command of a highly skilled Coast Guard Surfman, exercising strategic maneuvering skills and razor sharp judgement that ensure those in peril are rescued and that the motor lifeboat and crew return safety to port.

Monday morning Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay inducted another of their own into the category of Surfman. He’s now Surfman Brian Ballenger, an eight year veteran of the Coast Guard, a native of North Carolina. He is Surfman #482. He is the third Surfman to be raised in rank at this station. Another one was inducted earlier this month in Depoe Bay. There are now over 40 Surfmen at the ready 24/7 along the Oregon Coast when the call for help comes in.

Below is a You Tube Video posted by a Coast Guard crew that shows some of the breathtaking and heart-stopping drills Surfmen go through in order to stand among the motor lifeboat elite of the U.S. Coast Guard.

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 Posted by at 12:19 PM
Apr 142013
 

6:30pmThe Coast Guard has just made an all stations announcement that they heard a low volume call of distress over the Coast Guard hailing frequency. The call for help that was given only once. All vessels are asked to keep an ear to their radios and an eyes on the horizon.

7:07pm
With no further broadcasts nor positions available, the Coast Guard has cancelled its alert for a vessel in distress. The Coast Guard said the low volume call simply indicated distress and then went quiet. After several announcements to be on the lookout for a possible vessel in trouble, with no results, the Coast Guard cancelled the alert at 7:06pm.

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 Posted by at 6:36 PM
Apr 012013
 

Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay BM2 Russell Thacker becoming a Surfman April 1, 2013

Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay
BM2 Russell Thacker becoming a Surfman
April 1, 2013

Now Surfman Russell Thacker receives Surfman insignia

Now Surfman Russell Thacker receives Surfman insignia

Coast Guardsmen applaud the achievement of Surfman Russell Thacker

Coast Guardsmen applaud the achievement of Surfman Russell Thacker

Surfman Russell Thacker congratulated by fellow Surfmen

Surfman Russell Thacker congratulated by fellow Surfmen

Surfman Thacker (front row center) with his fellow Surfmen

Surfman Thacker (front row center) with his fellow Surfmen

Surfman Russell Thacker savors his moment of achievement

Surfman Russell Thacker savors his moment of achievement

Surfmen honored with names on the wall inside Coast Guard Yaquina Bay Headquarters

Surfmen honored with names on the wall inside Coast Guard Yaquina Bay Headquarters

Coast Guard Yaquina Bay Coast Guardsman BM2 Russell Thacker joined the ranks of the elite coast guard rescue craft operators – becoming a Coast Guard Surfman. A grueling training regimen among some of the most brutal storm waves and wind that Mother Nature can throw at a human being is what makes the achievement spectacular. Thacker joins an elite group that is greatly respected and honored and relied upon to courageously save lives and property under the most horrendous conditions by piloting their motor lifeboats and other craft that are both powerful and nimble in the right hands.

Surfman’s wife and two young daughter’s proudly applauded, along the others, in congratulating him on a success that is distinguished by skill, stamina and courage as few others in the U.S. Military.

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The following courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

WHO ARE SURFMEN?

Throughout their 44-year history, the U.S. Life Saving Service (USLSS) is credited with saving over 178,000 persons.The mainstay of the USLSS was the surfmen – men who crewed lifeboats and performed daring and often amazing rescues. The USLSS passed on its legacy of lifesaving – and its surfmen – to the United States Coast Guard in 1915. Today, the title of surfman is reserved for the service’s most highly trained boat handlers. Surfmen are the only coxswains qualified to operate rescue boats in breaking surf conditions. Surf is both unpredictable and treacherous, and requires the utmost boat driving skill and mastery. Of the 188 boat stations currently in the Coast Guard, 20 stations are located in areas with surf conditions that require surfmen. Surfman qualification is the pinnacle of professionalism at these units.

WHO CAN BECOME A SURFMAN?

Any SNBM, BM3, BM2 or BM1 can enter training to become a surfman, but few have what it takes! The training is very demanding and can take anywhere from 1 to 6 years. Only 1 out of every 25 BM1 or BM2s will achieve qualification as surfman and become part of this elite community. Throughout their careers, Surfmen often prove to be among the service’s most outstanding achievers; currently 35% of BMCMs and 25% of BMCSs are qualified surfmen.

THE SURFMAN INSIGNIA

Surfmen are the Coast Guard’s elite boat coxswains; only they are permitted to wear the surfman insignia. The Coast Guard Surfman insignia recognizes the highest level of boat operations experience and the immense responsibility that Surfmen undertake in the performance of their duty, and embodies a strong sense of pride and history. Its design is based on the insignia of the USLSS: those who wear it wear it with pride, carrying on a tradition and honoring our legacy of lifesaving.

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 Posted by at 4:49 PM
Mar 092013
 

7:45pm
The Coast Guard has cancelled an alert for a vessel in distress off Yaquina Head. Declares it a false alert.

7:00pm
Repeated notice to mariners from the Coast Guard indicate there may be a blue vessel in distress off the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Mariners are asked to keep a sharp lookout for it.

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 Posted by at 7:30 PM
Feb 012013
 

U.S. Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay
Promotions Ceremony, Friday, February 1, 2013

BM2 Matthew Strucic receives “Surfman” Certification (#472)
CWO Robert Ornelas (Surfman #288) issues certificate
BMC Beth Slade (Surfman #321) attaches certification pin

BMCM Thomas Mc Adams (Surfman #83)
Presents BM2 Matthew Strucic (Surfman #472) with Surfman Check

BM2 Matthew Strucic (Surfman #472)
is congratulated by fellow Surfmen

Always a “Surfman” at the wheel

BM2 Robert Norris
Receives certificate for “Heavy Weather Coxswain”

MK2 Robert Hinkle
Promoted to Machinery Technician Second Class
Serves aboard Lifeboats and as Maritime Law Enforcement Officer

U.S. Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay

Click on photos to enlarge

One of the highest honors and accompanying list of responsibilities on board a motorlife boat goes with a certificate called a “Surfman.” Out of 45,000 Coast Guardsmen in the service, there are less than five hundred that meet the stringent requirements who can operate a motor lifeboat in rough seas and calm, rescues and other hair-raising conditions that seem to happen all to frequently along the West Coast.

BM2 Matthew Strucic, after years of training and proficiency testing on and off the water, was awarded his Surfman Certificate Friday morning at U.S. Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay. He was also pinned with the official Surfman pin, and given a Surfman check by Newport’s favorite coast guardsman BMCM Thomas Mc Adams (Surfman #83) retired. Afterwards, Surfman Matthew Strucic was congratulated by his fellow Surfmen and was welcomed into the realm of elite lifeboat handlers whose skill and good judgement are critically important elements in any successful ocean operation.

Here’s a bit more background on the Surfman legacy and how much it is honored, if not revered, in the ranks of the U.S. Coast Guard:

From the U.S. Coast Guard

The title of surfman is reserved for the service’s most highly trained boat handlers. Surfmen are the only coxswains qualified to operate rescue boats in breaking surf conditions. Surf is both unpredictable and treacherous, and requires the utmost boat driving skill and mastery. Of the 188 boat stations currently in the Coast Guard, 20 stations are located in areas with surf conditions that require surfmen. Surfman qualification is the pinnacle of professionalism at these units.

Any SNBM, BM3, BM2 or BM1 can enter training to become a surfman, but few have what it takes! The training is very demanding and can take anywhere from 1 to 6 years. Only 1 out of every 25 BM1 or BM2s will achieve qualification as surfman and become part of this elite community. Throughout their careers, Surfmen often prove to be among the service’s most outstanding achievers; currently 35% of BMCMs and 25% of BMCSs are qualified surfmen.

In other promotions Friday morning, BM2 Robert Norris received his certification for Heavy Weather Coxswain. This is an intermediate certification. The individual who achieves this certification has demonstrated the maturity and boat handling skills above a basic Coxswain level.

MK2 Robert Hinkle was promoted to Machinery Technician Second Class. He serves as an Engineer aboard the lifeboats and also as a Maritime Law Enforcement Officer.

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 Posted by at 3:58 PM
Dec 222012
 

Jessica Patrick photo

Anytime you think you’ve had a hard day at work, just whip out a copy of this photo and remind yourself of average Coast Guard working conditions which requires that you be able to walk sideways at 45 degrees and save lives doing it. The United States Coast Guard; a committed band of gymnastic saints and angels.

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 Posted by at 6:52 PM
Nov 062012
 

1:30pm

The Coast Guard says there will be numerous parachute flares deployed over the south jetty at the entrance to Yaquina Bay. The Coast Guard says it is a training/display exercise. There is no emergency.

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 Posted by at 1:17 PM
Oct 252012
 

Normally the Coast Guard is very busy saving lives but during the Halloween Season they fall through to the dark side – scaring people to death! And they’re doing a darn good job of it at their Coast Guard Yaquina Bay Halloween Haunted House.

Coast Guardsmen converted an old house across the street from their headquarters on Naterlin, filled it with fog, erie lights, raucous singing, banging glass and slamming doors, cries from the dead and shrieks from the dying. And as a grand finale you’re chased out of the basement in near pitch black by a goule waving a live chain saw (blade not engaged).

The tour of the ghastly upstairs is perhaps a bit too well done, obviously some of these Guardians of the Coast have had some practice in live theater – the “set” is MOST CONVINCING!

The Coast Guard goules, ghosts and goblins are doing all this in order to relieve some of the scariness that too many Newport families are suffering – not having enough food on the table. Proceeds from the haunted house go to the Newport Food Pantry which serves literally hundreds of struggling Newport area families who need the pantry’s help in order to maintain some sense of normalcy at their homes.

So round up the family, hop in your halloween horse-drawn and beat feet down to the west end of the Bayfront and be swept away by the spirits at the door into a good ole fashioned Halloween Haunted House put on by Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay. It’s a good ‘un! Definitely age 12 and up. Runs every night through Saturday night. Starts at 7pm and continues until the last customer is launched screaming from the building.

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 Posted by at 10:13 PM
Oct 222012
 

The Coast Guard has launched a program to ensure that all commercial fishing vessels, whether state registered or federally certified, are as safe as they can be while at sea. Any vessel that fishes or transits beyond the three mile limit will have to be safety inspected by the Coast Guard or, by a legal alternate, in order to legally leave port. Those vessels displaying a current safety inspected decal are authorized to leave port. Those who don’t must be inspected first.

The Coast Guard says during routine boarings at sea, Coast Guard law enforcement units will check for proof of a mandatory dockside safety exam. Vessels that cannot provide such proof will be issued a written warning to obtain an exam within the next thirty days.

To schedule a dockside safety examination Pacific Northwest Fishermen should contact the Coast Guard Marine Safty Unit-Portland at 503-240-9337 or 503-240-9373.

The Coast Guard invites commercial fishermen to familiarize themselves with the list of safety items required by the existing commercial fishing vessel safety regulations for their specific vessel. To access that information, click here.

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 Posted by at 1:39 PM
Oct 182012
 

The Coast Guard reports that they picked up a fishing vessel’s emergency locator transmitter Thursday afternoon at 2:34pm. They say they pinpointed it at 44-33.4 North, 124-03.01 West. That would put it right off of Newport, not even a mile offshore. Thus far nothing out of the ordinary in that area but all vessels were asked to keep an eye out for a vessel in distress. So far the Coast Guard just keeps repeating the advisory for all vessels in the area.

The Coast Guard also asks all vessels to check their own emergency beacons to see if one has accidentally gone off, unbeknownst to the Captain.

Later in the afternoon the Coast Guard cancelled the alert.

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 Posted by at 3:21 PM