Recently, I had the privilege of touring the station and meeting Rob Kring, a Senior Enlisted Reserve Advisor for the Coast Guard Reserve. Rob has lived and worked in Oswego with his family since 2009. He is very knowledgable and it was truly a pleasure to get to know him!
Below are 6 things you should know about the Coast Guard Oswego Station. And, now that it is officially boating season, some of this information could one day save your life...
1. Their Mission in Oswego
The Coast Guard Station Oswego's main missions are Search and Rescue and Law Enforcement. They are staffed by two duty sections that stand a two day on and two day off duty schedule. They are always ready to respond to mariners in distress on Lake Ontario, which even includes ice rescue in the winter months. And, this happens more than you think as they don't just cover Oswego. Their area of responsibility extends from Sodus Bay to Cape Vincent and out to the Canadian Border.
2. How They Can Help You
|They saved Oscar during the Man Over Board (MOB) drill. Oscar looks thin but he actually weighs 185 pounds!|
The Coast Guard is ready to help when you are in distress on Lake Ontario or even on land (they have saved several from the breakwall leading to the Lighthouse). The most important thing to tell them right away is your position and what your distress is. Knowing this first helps them gather the proper resources to assist you and if cellphone reception is lost before they gather more information at least they are able to now locate you.
You can reach the Coast Guard on Channel 16 VHF/FM marine radio. They have watchstanders that staff the radio room and also a command center in Buffalo 24/7. If you don't have a radio, you can reach them directly by calling 315-343-1551 or can simply dial 911 for an operator. The Coast Guard Station is located at 1 Lake St. in Oswego, next to Wright's Landing Marina.
3. What They Want Boaters to Know
One of the most important things to consider before you even leave the dock is, have I checked my boat's safety equipment? The Coast Guard recommends asking these questions before taking off...
- Do I have enough life jackets in good condition for everyone on the boat? They informed me that someone can get hypothermia even in 80 degree water!
- Do I have flares and a sound producing device?
- Do my navigation lights work properly?
- Is my marine radio working? Storms come quickly out on Lake Ontario, so knowing weather conditions via radio is crucial, not to mention contacting the Coast Guard if you happened to be in distress.
The Coast Guard conducts safety checks on their boats every single day to ensure they are always ready to respond to anything.
4. Don't Be Afraid to Contact Them
Keep in communication with the Coast Guard. Many times a good samaritan (another boater) will see a boat in distress and assist them before the Coast Guard arrives on scene. If this happens, be sure to let the Coast Guard know they are safe, or else the Coast Guard will keep searching for them.
As mentioned above, the Coast Guard can be reached on Channel 16 VHF/FM marine radio and by calling them directly at 315-343-1551.
5. They Take Pride in the Oswego County Community
|The Coast Guard Station Oswego participating in the Dragon Boat Race|
The Coast Guard men and women are just like you and I. They have members that are coaches on kids sports teams, volunteer for community outreach programs, and participate in events like the 'Dragon Boat' races.
I met one 'Coastie' who loved the area because he is big on snowmobiling and loved the snow. On the other hand, I met a new 'Coastie' who had just arrived from California in late April, fresh from the academy. She was out on the water one day when it was 50 degrees and windy and asked if this was how it felt in the winter. I'm sure they all got a laugh out of that one!
These men and women usually spend five years here in Oswego and then are off somewhere new. One of the men I met had only one month left then he was off to Cape Cod. Their furthest member comes all the way from the Island of Trinidad and Tobago, where their lowest average temperature in the winter is 77 degrees!
Everyone I met while at the station was so welcoming and friendly. I was told that any 'Coastie' you run into while out and about in Oswego would be proud to shake your hand and talk to you about their services and what they stand for. So, don't be afraid to welcome them to our community too!
6. They Have a REALLY Cool Boat
One last thing, their boat is extremely high tech and really fun! They took me out on the 45ft. RBM (Response Boat Medium) for some drills and little did I know I would have such an unforgettable experience.
The 45' is a twin jet drive boat that is powered by two turbo-charged Detriot Diesel engines. Two cool things about this boat: it is self-righting meaning if they capsized, the boat is built to "flip" itself back over, and they can actually dock sideways by moving the joystick port or starboard directions!
While I was on the boat, they performed a man over board exercise (click for video), and even practiced maneuvering the boat by going very fast and turning sharply. That boat turns on a dime!
I also got to get behind the wheel of the boat...and by wheel I mean joysticks. The Coxswain’s and navigator’s seats are actually equipped with propulsion and steering controls (joystick, tiller, trim/roll joystick) for boat operations; so no steering wheel here.
|What a fun experience!|
I'd like to thank everyone at the Coast Guard Station Oswego for the tour and awesome boating experience. You're all very brave and when it comes to Lake Ontario safety, we know we can turn to you!
For more information about the Coast Guard Station Oswego click here.
For information on boating safety, canalling, and the locks in Oswego County click here.
Thanks for reading,