2017-05-18 / Front Page

Coast Guard Open House Is Saturday

By Erich T. Doerr

Coast Guard Station St. Ignace will host its annual open house in conjunction with National Safe Boating Week Saturday, May 20. The open house will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering the general public a rare look inside the station to see how it operates and the tools its staff use. Admission is free to all.

This year’s tour will include both the interior of the station and its rescue vessels outside. Visitors inside the station will get to see the communications center, the galley, and the mess hall. The local Coast Guard Auxiliary will be present with a number of displays set up related to its work.

A big highlight of the event will be the chance to board the station’s two rescue boats, the 25-foot Response Boat Small (RB-S) and the 45-foot Response Boat Medium (RB-M), and see the gear used on each of them. Mackinac Island’s Mackinac Marine Rescue Team will also attend the open house with their 31-foot rescue boat, also open to the public. The RB-M and the Mackinac Marine Rescue boat will likely be displayed moored in the water at the station, while the RB-S will be positioned on land with its travel trailer.

Station St. Ignace Petty Officer Charles Smith said the staff is looking forward to the open house. He noted the public event provides a great opportunity for the station to show everyone what it does and how it responds when calls for help come in.

Station St. Ignace’s crew focuses on search and rescue operations and law enforcement duties. The station is equipped for water rescues in the spring, summer, and fall, and ice rescues during the winter months. Saturday’s open house will feature the station’s summer rescue equipment.

The icebreaking tug USCGC Biscayne Bay, stationed in St. Ignace, may also be a part of this year’s open house. Some prior open houses have featured tours of the 140-foot vessel. Its involvement in the open house varies from year to year.

The open house is timed to coincide with the kickoff to the United States and Canada’s National Safe Boating Week. Safe boating week will run from Saturday, May 20, to Friday, May 26. Petty Officer Smith said the week aims to encourage everyone to be safe while out on the water. There is a push right now for all boaters to make sure their vessels have proper safety equipment like lifejackets and radios. Having the right equipment can make a big difference in the event of an emergency.

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