By Kent Gray
Triplicate staff writer
Local waters will soon be safer with Coast Guard Auxiliary boats on patrol, according to the Crescent City Port Search and Rescue Committee.
After passing their written tests Monday, the auxiliary Coast Guard, a collection of fishermen and other interested people, is now ready for real-life training.
It doesnt matter whether its the auxiliary or the Dorado, it will be the same type of training that we do, said Captain Theodore Le Feuvre, commander of Group Humboldt Bay at Fridays meeting.
Committee member Bev Noll said the group of volunteers is already a well-rounded, strong group.
Weve hand-selected a group that represent a wide range of people, Noll said. These are well-respected fishermen in our community.
Noll also said that this auxiliary will be scrutinized because of the search-and-rescue focus it will be based on, and added, We may be a model of Coast Guard auxiliary for the whole nation.
The auxiliary will be comprised of seven commercial fishermen, four surfers and kayakers, two pilots and one small boat captain.
The committee itself is comprised of several community groups, representing the Coast Guard, the Harbor Commission, the Sheriffs Department, Search and Rescue, Crescent City City Council, a Del Norte County supervisor, fishermens wives and Pacific Fisheries.
Some functions of the auxiliary are still to be sorted out as liabilities are a concern, but new ideas are already being introduced.
Terry McNamara of Search and Rescue proposed the installation of bolt-and-hangars along the jetty at about every 2600 feet to aid with onshore rescues.
McNamara reported that City Manager Dave Wells had already spoken with the Army Corps of Engineers about the project. An early estimate of the cost was as low as $800.
This would have aided in the rescue performed last Saturday when a boy was washed from the jetty, according to executive petty officer Bill Hantzmon.
We were there mainly for support, Hantzmon said. Im not sure there was much we could do because the water was so shallow. We were standing by for further assistance in case they couldnt complete the rescue from the pier, which they were able to do.
Justin Kimura, commanding officer of the Coast Guard cutter Dorado, which is stationed at Crescent City, said he welcomed the assistance from the auxiliary.
Its great to see the community take an interest in their own well-being and not just be dependent on us, Kimura said.
When asked if he felt the auxiliary will be able to handle some of the rigors of the job, Kimura said it shouldnt be a problem. Im not too worried about their safety because well make sure they are well-trained beforehand.
There was only one item remaining, according to committee member Garry Young. We need uniforms now - and you and I are about the same size, Young quipped to Commander Le Feuvre.