BARNEGAT LIGHT – Many locals and vacationers alike seem to forget about the U.S. Coast Guard presence here on Long Beach Island and what they do locally. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 7-12 of Barnegat Light recently held their annual open house, opening their doors to the public.
Families, beach goers, bike riders and island vacationers all made their way into the open parking lot of Barnegat Light Coast Guard station for the event on August 15. Just fewer than 700 people were in attendance, an impressive turn out.
The Coast Guard proudly showed off their skills through several demonstrations and valuable safety and environmental information for residents and boaters. Part of Flotilla 12’s mission is to better inform residents and boaters about being safe in and around the Barnegat Bay. They also handed out brochures about boating safety, keeping a clean environment, and other topics.
They featured personal flotation device fittings and free life jackets that were raffled off every hour. They also raffled off a U.S.C.G. watch, a large framed photo of Barnegat Light and a wooden model of the Coast Guard Academy’s famed training vessel, the Eagle.
The open house event also featured an air rescue demonstration just over the water, a flare demonstration, and a drone flotation device deployment demonstration, provided by the Long Beach Police Department. There was also t-shirt sales, hot dogs, cold drinks, and plenty of things to entertain both children and adults.
Docked nearby in the waters of the Barnegat Bay were 2 pairs of Coast Guard boats that were completely open to the public to tour, inspect and learn more about them inside and out. Members of the Coast Guard stood on board either of the ships, telling stories, answering questions and teaching people about their ships.
Aside from the impressive ships, demonstrations and organizations, there was another attraction that caught the eyes of the children. It was a Marine Safety Damage Control Simulator run by the Coast Guard. The simulator featured pipes with several cracks and visible breaches. The operator (Petty Officer 3rd Class, Corey Smith) would then open specific values that would send water spraying out from the appendages. Whoever was inside had to use a combination of wooden wedges and a hammer to seal up the leaks before the “ship” filled with water. This simulation, usually on a bigger scale, helps trainees learn to act fast in damage control necessary situations. Whether they are repairing gaskets or stopping breaches.
Of the many local members and participating organizations at the event there was: the Alliance for a Living Ocean, Jacques Cousteau of the National Estuarine Research Reserve, the “Black Sheep” Ocean Air Support Squadron from Lanoka Harbor, the Long Beach Township Police Department, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, WBNJ 91.9 FM, local children’s book author Mary Clanton, the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst-based USCG Atlantic Strike Team, Marine Field Station, Marine Fisheries Administration, and 10 Navy Sea Cadets.
The open house was co-sponsored by division 7 of the U.S. Coast Guard. They have been in operation for roughly 75 years with well over 200 members.
Flotilla 12 of Barnegat Light acts as an arm of the U.S.C.G. They perform vessel inspections, training, and the education of local residents through boating safety classes. They focus heavily on public safety and the awareness of the United States Coast Guard.
The event was free and is held annually at the USCG Station in Barnegat Light at 601 Bayview Ave.