“COAST GUARD  Actions Needed to  Close Stations  Identified as  Overlapping and  Unnecessarily  Duplicative” –GAO

U.S. Coast Guard Station Shark River 28SEP14

The Federal Register /Vol. 85, No. 31/Friday, February 14, 2020/Notices reports that the Coast Guard is considering closing five stations and has asked for public comment. This is in response to GAO report 18-9, Oct. 2017,”COAST GUARD  Actions Needed to  Close Stations  Identified as  Overlapping and  Unnecessarily  Duplicative.”

Stations Oxford, MD; Fishers Island, NY; Shark River, NJ; Roosevelt Inlet, DE; and Salem, NJ have been identified for consolidation with neighboring stations.

“In October of 2017, the Government Accountability Office issued report GAO–18–9, titled ‘‘Actions Needed to Close Stations Identified as Overlapping and Unnecessarily Duplicative.’’ This GAO report recommended the consolidation of eighteen boat stations. Due to environmental and operational factors, the Coast Guard is not considering all eighteen boat stations identified in the GAO report for consolidation. Instead, we anticipate consolidating five stations, with implementation notionally scheduled for fiscal year 2021. These stations have been identified because there are other units nearby capable of responding to cases in these areas, and because these five stations respond to a low number of cases. We do not anticipate any adverse effect on Coast Guard response capability. We expect an improvement to the proficiency of boat operators as well as a less complicated response system. “

It is by no means certain that these five stations will be closed. The GAO report notes that the Coast Guard has a long history of failed attempts to close stations that appeared redundant.

The GAO noted that the Coast Guard has good criteria for determining which SAR boat stations should be closed, but that while it has some data based criteria for Air Stations it was not as rigorous as that for the small boat stations.

Actually looking at Figure 6: “Map of Coast Guard Helicopter Coverage as of August 2017” on page 24 of the GAO report, while there are areas of overlap off Washington State, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Delaware and over Lake Michigan, there are also apparent gaps between LA and San Franciso, at the Florida panhandle, and over Lake Superior.

When the Coast Guard gets its next generation aircraft, including, hopefully, products of the Future Vertical Lift program that is expected to double the range and speed of vertical takeoff aircraft, we are going to need to take a fresh look at the number and  location of Coast Guard Air Stations.

Credit BryMarConsulting for bringing this to my attention.

8 thoughts on ““COAST GUARD  Actions Needed to  Close Stations  Identified as  Overlapping and  Unnecessarily  Duplicative” –GAO

      • I’m thinking Fisher’s Island, Ny because Station New London owns it and during the Summer Boating Season, the Auxiliary in Div 24 and 25 man the Fisher’s Island station during the summer boating season. I would think it would be great for the reserves as well.

  1. oh for you know whos sake haven’t we been through this before? at one time station eastport was schedualed to die. a busy station/sub station now. how much did city/town pay for refurbished pier? state also. all that happens is fewer stations have to deal with more stuff and response times suffer. so what a c-130 can be on scene. how many survivors do c-130s pick up? sorry. am not a small boat station guy though did my share. the maine coast and I am sure great lakes and other coast would have same shit fit. distance matter. have been stationed in jones port. eastport is not just a hop, skip and jump away. especially when it comes to folks in the water.

    • At times you need bodies on site. It seems if you can’t fly or use a drone these days then it isn’t cost effective. It even goes as far as being accused as ‘old fashioned’ or ‘backward’. It is the same with policing you need people to deal with people.

      What makes me laugh is that as we all know a boat that can do 25kts on a flat calm day might not achieve (!) that speed across a stormy sea. Yet those in authority don’t seem to understand how a boat moves across a sea. That’s what we are getting with the RNLI at the moment; new boats faster, so we can close stations.

  2. Getting rid of boat/air stations that appear to be unnecessarily redundant may be all well and good, but what happens during the height of boating season or during a major rescue case/disaster response comes around? Now that those stations are shuttered up, that extra help will no longer be around, and the stations that have taken on the extra responsibilities will be hard pressed to respond effectively. I’m sure CG leadership has taken this into account, but I think it’s easy to be lulled into a sense of complacency when things seem to be going easy until a major response effort is needed. You can’t just take into account the off-peak seasons; the most important factors are oftentimes the ones you’re not afforded the luxury of planning ahead for. That’s when you’ll be most happy to have those “unnecessarily redundant” assets.

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