Flares Sighted; this is what several residents of the Tarpon Springs area reported to the Coast Guard. There were many flares lighting up the night sky --- but all were fired off by a 25 foot Coast Guard boat, complete with flashing blue lights, just south of Anclote Island.
These reports of flares were wonderful since this is what you should do when you see a flare going off. It is a distress signal and usually indicates a boater is in trouble. But, this time, it was the Coast Guard and ten boats from Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 11, in a Night Operational Exercise.
Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 11 consists of five units or flotillas - Clearwater Flotilla 1, Dunedin Flotilla 10, Tarpon Springs Flotilla 9, New Port Richey Flotilla 6, and Hudson Flotilla 7. The CG Auxiliary patrol boats left their respective home ports about 4:00 pm and rendezvoused about five miles south of Anclote Island, off of Three Rooker Bar. After the flare demonstration, the boats went to pre-assigned areas in five groups of two and practiced, in the dark: man-overboard drills, towing, and search and rescue. In the Coast Guard Auxiliary, training is always constant. Usually the crew on the patrol boats train on their very frequent patrols; but this training at night really strengthened their skills.
Pete Galanos, the Division's Operations Officer, handled the massive job of coordinating all of the personnel, boats, and Coast Guard support. Karen Miller, Division Vice Captain, was in charge of the exercise on the water. Karen said, "The Auxiliary has to be prepared to answer a call from the Coast Guard to provide help to a boater in distress. That call can come in anytime and usually it isn't just after lunch on a really nice, sunny day, so we have to train accordingly." The men and women that who were on the patrol boats know this and they train hard to be ever ready (Semper Paratus - the Coast Guard's slogan). The fellowship the Auxiliary has and teamwork it displays, are the elements that make sure local boaters are safer on the water
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition