By Barbara Burchfield, US Coast Guard Auxiliary
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 12-3 Lake Murray membership recorded more than 13,900 volunteer hours in 2016 in support of the Coast Guard and recreational boating safety in South Carolina.
In 2016, Lake Murray Auxiliary members performed 211 vessel safety checks, a free service to recreational boaters to check the required safety equipment onboard. There were 171 marine dealer visits during the year, a service that provides local businesses with boating safety materials and information for recreational boaters. The Flotilla was credited for 460 underway hours by boat crew members. Visit www.uscgaux-lakemurray.com for more information or to request a vessel safety check.
Chartered on February 1, 1947, Lake Murray Flotilla 12-3 was the first Coast Guard Auxiliary unit in South Carolina and celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is primarily tasked with services related to recreational boating safety. The services provided by the Auxiliary include surface and air patrols, boating safety classes, courtesy vessel safety checks, boating safety education and outreach, community relations, and many other missions on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Volunteer hours by Auxiliary members allow the Coast Guard to focus on protecting our homeland ports and waterways, law enforcement, maritime safety and the marine environment. Auxiliary members make a huge financial contribution to the community and to the state with their volunteer service.
At U.S. Coast Guard Station Charleston, last year Auxiliary members stood more than six hundred hours on Communications Watch and over three hundred hours on Gate Guard duty to assist with smooth operations and ensuring safety. Auxiliary members conducted thorough rounds of the unit’s small boats and buildings, monitored weather, and coordinated with the Officer of the Day to properly execute the Stations Plan of the Day.
Through the years, Auxiliary missions have expanded in areas such as Food Service programs for members to staff Coast Guard station galleys and cutters at sea, Financial Educator program for counseling active duty service personnel in finance and retirement programs, Auxiliary Clergy support, Pollution Response & Investigation, Auxiliary Interpreter Corps, and more.
Lake Murray Auxiliary members are local citizens and neighbors who volunteer their time and talents for boating safety, the Coast Guard and the community. The surface operations team provides safety zones for regattas and special events, like the Navy Sea Cadets Great Portage Race, Paddle Benders Race, Lake Murray SUP Classic, Lake Murray Dam Swim for Drew, PTSD River Challenge, etc. On shore, Flotilla 12-3 supports local programs such as the Chapin Community Service Day as well as supporting the Columbia Veterans Day Parade, Gilbert’s Peach Festival, VFW Memorial services, Fort Jackson Safety Stand-down, and more.
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed, civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard supporting the Coast Guard in nearly all its missions.
Pictured left: Lexington County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Troy Livingston and Austin Pace raft up with U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Personal Watercraft Operator Ann Graham and Auxiliary boat operated by Al Crothers for a briefing prior to providing a perimeter safety zone for the SUP Classic on Lake Murray October 1, 2016. Photo by Barbara Burchfield, USCG Auxiliary.