Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bobber and Baseball: A Home Run for Water Safety

Park Ranger Emily Coffin, Saylorville Lake, helps a young Cubs fan try on a life jacket and adjust the straps for proper fit.
(U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Photo by Marty Robey)

That do you get when you mix Bobber the Water Safety Dog and baseball? A home run at the Fifth Annual Water Safety Night at the Iowa Cubs game in Des Moines, Iowa.

This Annual Water Safety Night at the Iowa Cubs game was a joint event with the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Park Ranger Emily Coffin and Elyse Logan along with Coast Guard Auxilarists Doug Jansen and Marty Robey promoted water safety to kids and adults prior to and during the game.

Bobber threw out the first pitch for the packed game between the Iowa Cubs and the Memphis Redbirds. After throwing out the first pitch Bobber roamed the stands and met kids of all ages.

"Bobber helped us make some great interactions," said Park Ranger Emily Coffin. "He helped us to drive home some important water safety messages, including to always wear your life jacket."

Hundreds of baseball fans stopped by the water safety display at the park to learn about life jackets, boating safety and to meet Bobber. Bobber helped to inform young children about water safety to help them make the right choices when they are around water. Life jackets were available for children to try on to get sized for a proper fit. Parents were given slips to indicate the correct size so that they can purchase properly fitted life jackets for their children. There was also a water safety activity where kids were asked water safety trivia questions to earn prizes.

"Our partnership with the Corps of Engineers for this event helps us both to get out the message about water safety," said Auxilarist Doug Jansen.

Later that night, Auxilarist Jansen spent some time in the broadcast booth with Deene Ehlis and Randy Wehofer, Iowa Cubs broadcasters, to talk about water safety with the listeners. The conversation emphasized the importance of wearing life jackets and safe boating practices.

The water safety night was a success, as hundreds of children and their families were exposed to water safety education as they geared up for the busy 4th of July weekend.

Bobber the Water Safety Dog poses for a photo at the Water Safety Night at the Iowa Cubs Game.
(U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Photo by Marty Robey)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Patterson and Butters are Flotilla's Newest Boat Crew Members

Auxilarists Phil Patterson and Brandon Butters completed their training and have become qualified Coast Guard Auxiliary Boat Crew Members. Their training consisted of seamanship skills; knot tying, basic boating skills, first aid, etc. They also had hours of hands on training of how to rescue people from the water and to tow disabled vessels to safe harbor. To become qualified they were tested by a Qualification Examiner and had to demonstrate mastery of skills such as dealing with a Person in the Water, setting up a tow for a disabled vessel and also an cumulative exam.

Congratulations to Brandon and Phil!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

WHO TV 13 Features Coast Guard Auxiliary Patrol

Travis Daniels talking to WHO TV 13 Reporter, Emily Carlson, during a safety patrol on Saylorville Lake. For the whole report go to:

On the 4th of July, Flotilla 4’s boat crew was able to take out a news crew from WHO TV 13 in Des Moines. Reporter Emily Carlson interviewed the boat crew and was able to learn a little bit more about the Coast Guard Auxiliary in Iowa.

Like many others we encounter, she was surprised that there was a Coast Guard presence in Central Iowa. We were able to take and give her a little insight into our missions so that the public may better understand what we do.

First, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard. Created by an Act of Congress in 1939, the Auxiliary directly supports the Coast Guard in all missions, except military and law enforcement actions. The Coast Guard Auxiliary has existed in Central Iowa for many years. Recently our ranks have grown, thus enabling us to help go out into the public more to advocate for safe boating.

We conduct safety patrols on local lakes and waterways, assist the Coast Guard with homeland security duties, teach boating safety classes, conduct free vessel safety checks for the public, as well as many other activities (including augmenting them during emergencies like the flooding up on the Red River).

Many Auxilarists choose to receive training from the Coast Guard and other agencies to be qualified to respond to an emergency similar to your local fire department. Our mission is different, but our volunteer lifesavers go through hours of classroom training and field experience before they are able to go out and help during an emergency. These professional volunteers have skills and capabilities from as simple as staffing a radio watch to operating on a patrol boat on a lake to help boaters in distress.

Even though the active duty Coast Guard facilities are located on the Mississippi River and Missouri River, we Auxilarists have a vital mission here in Central Iowa. We are here to help further the Coast Guard safety missions to promote safe boating. Whether it is teaching a class, doing a free vessel safety check for your boat, or patrolling the lakes and waterways to ensure your safety we are furthering this mission. By doing this it allows the active duty Coast Guard to focus their energies on missions elsewhere.

So yes, there is a Coast Guard presence in Central Iowa and we are Iowa’s Volunteer Lifesavers!