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The Maritime Log #5 - May 14, 2018

May 14, 2018

The Maritime Log by Dyke Hendrickson

Coast Guard in VT patrols Lake Champlain

by Dyke Hendrickson
Custom House Maritime Museum Outreach Historian

 

Most New England Coast Guard stations are near the ocean but the venue in Vermont is on the shore of Lake Champlain in Burlington. I traveled there last week and interviewed two enlisted Coasties, Chris Batton and Jason Balmer.

U.S. Coast Guard Station Burlington, VT - Chris Batton, left, and Jason Balmer

Coast Guard personnel there inspect pleasure craft, enforce environmental regulations and embark on search-and-rescue missions. They provide maintenance to navigation aids, such as buoys.
In winter, they are often tasked to rescue and retrieve vehicles that have crashed through the ice when drivers are foolish enough to try to traverse the (almost) frozen lake.

Because Champlain borders Canada (and New York state), they also are on the alert for illegal immigration and drug importation.Coast Guard Station Burlington was established in 1948 as a four-man station.A modern facility was built on the waterfront in 1993, and now has 33 Coasties stationed there.

They operate a 25-foot Defender Class boat, a 49-foot buoy- utility vessel and a trailerable aids-navigation craft. Both men have been in the Coast Guard for about 18 years.

Batton's first day was Sept. 11, 2001, and he said that the terrorist attacks put all Coast Guard stations on what might be called agitated alert. His training was accelerated so his class of recruits could be put on guard duty almost immediately.The two Coasties said that many people they meet don't know exactly what the Coast Guard does. Also, they indicated the Coast Guard does not receive the credit it often deserves from the public and/or media.

I listened closely to that sentiment, since I am researching a book titled, "New England Coast Guard Stories: Remarkable Patriots."  It will provide more attention to this service, which has a nationwide force of about 42,000 right now.

Dyke Hendrickson, Outreach Historian, The Maritime Log

On a separate note, I spoke at the Newburyport Public Library last week.  I gave away seven copies of "Nautical Newburyport," as part of the Maritime Museum's "Book-in-a-Bottle" campaign.  One woman who received a book said, "Please sign it, but don't include my name. This book will be passed along, and many people will eventually own it."

If your organization would like me to speak at an event, please get in touch.  I can be reached at dhendrickson@thechmm.org.

Thanks. Dyke Hendrickson

The Maritime Log by Dyke Hendrickson

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