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Posted by on Feb 19, 2009 in Environment, Personal Watercraft, Safety and Seamanship, US |

On the Water with the Commandant

Believe it or not, the U.S. Coast Guard is part of the maritime blogosphere, and today I read a cool post by Admiral Thad Allen.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ben Foster, a crewmember on a 33-foot Coast Guard Station New York rescue boat during the crash of US Airways Flight 1549, is presented the Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal by Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant, United States Coast Guard, and Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ben Foster, a crewmember on a 33-foot Coast Guard Station New York rescue boat during the crash of US Airways Flight 1549, is presented the Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal by Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant, United States Coast Guard, and Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Believe it or not, the United States Coast Guard is part of the maritime blogosphere, and today I read a cool post by Admiral Thad Allen on iCommandant: A Great Day to be Commandant! He writes about visiting New York Harbor to take part in ceremonies to recognize all of the good-samaritan mariners who took part in the rescue of the passengers of Flight 1549. A key point Allen makes is that in addition to the Coast Guard, every mariner on the water can make a difference in a crisis situation and with good communication, coordination, and training, a potential disaster can be minimized or, as in this case, averted.

The Admiral went on to point out that this had been “demonstrated several times this past year including: the Western River floods in June, the New Orleans oil spill in July, and when hurricanes Ike and Gustav hit the Gulf Coast in September. It was also demonstrated in the evacuation of lower Manhattan following the attacks of 9/11.”

He also presented awards to active duty Coast Guard officers such as Ben Foster (left), who went in the water to rescue an older woman when she fell of the plane’s wing into the frigid waters without a lifejacket.

The Admiral also had a good story about Coast Guard reservist Brittany Catanzaro, who at age 20 already has a 100-ton license and was operating a local ferry boat.

Allen writes: “She was serving in this capacity on the afternoon of the FLT 1549 crash and was one of the first vessels on scene, ultimately rescuing 26 people. Today she was recognized in her civilian capacity with a Meritorious Public Service Award.”

Speaking of blogs, Richard Gash, skipper of Sea Scout Ship 41 near Cleveland Ohio, wrote to me yesterday. You may have seen the picture I showed of his scouts receiving Interlux’s first-place Waterfront Challenge award at the Miami boat show.

Sea Scouts, Dalton, Ethan, MaryKate, Gabriel, Andrew and Alex show off the "flotsam scoop" that helped them win $30,000 for their environmental initiative.

Sea Scouts, Dalton, Ethan, MaryKate, Gabriel, Andrew and Alex show off the "flotsam scoop" that helped them win $30,000 for their environmental initiative.

His followup with me pointed to additional photos on the blog his scouts have put up, including a slide show. He also said that while in Miami, “We stayed aboard Lee Popham’s yacht at Coral Reef Yacht Club, went sailing aboard a 32′ Beneteau belonging to Shake a Leg Miami,  with Capt. Ed Benitez, and then to cap off our trip we went deep sea fishing in the Keys. It was very difficult to return to the snow and ice along the shores of Lake Erie. But spring is coming and we look forward to being on the water here in a couple of months.” He added that they’d love to receive a donation of use of a large (40′+) sailing boat with berths for 8 and use some of their $30,000 Waterfront Challenge award money to fix it up so they could go on extended training cruises.

Finally, we’ve posted a new column by Charles Plueddeman today as well. It’s a preview of the new Honda AquaTrax F-15, and in keeping with a recent theme, it’s a little easier on the budget than some previous models. Charles wrote the review last month, and there are now a few more photos available at Honda’s website. So perhaps we’ll soon see how this machine rides. In the meantime, you can check out what Honda’s got in store for you PWC fans.

–John Burnham