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  PAGE, AZ The United States Coast Guard and its volunteer component, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, are pleased to announce the formation of an Auxiliary Recreational Boating Safety Detachment at Lake Powell, Arizona.  The primary mission of the Detachment is to enhance the safety of recreational boating at the lake.  Additionally, the Detachment will participate in search and rescue missions and assist the National Park Service with various non-law enforcement missions as needed.

    The Detachment’s primary asset is a 25’ Defender Class Response Boat, A25531, that has been provided by the Coast Guard.  The vessel is easily recognized by its Coast Guard orange collar system that surrounds the deep-V rigid aluminum hull.  The boat is designed to carry 4 crew members and up to 6 additional passengers.  It has an up-to-date electronics package, including radar, chart plotter with the most current electronic chart of Lake Powell, GPS and radios.  One of the radios is constantly set to monitor Marine Channel 16, listening for any vessels that might be in distress.

     DesaRae Janszen, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, the Director of Auxiliary for the 11th Coast Guard District (SR), was instrumental in working with the Coast Guard leadership to provide the Response Boat for the Detachment.  The Auxiliarists who will be operating the Response Boat have been highly trained by the Coast Guard on the features of the Boat, its systems and operational parameters by CWO2 Matt James and CWO2 Mark Holzman, both active duty members of the Coast Guard.  All Auxiliarists who will be operating the Boat are experienced coxswains and crew members, and all have substantial experience with Lake Powell.  Three members of the Detachment, Commodore Michael Johnson (the Detachment Leader), Mike Chapman (the Detachment Engineering Officer) and Karen Chapman (the Detachment Operations Officer) have been patrolling the lake with their own vessels for nearly two decades and have been cited by the Coast Guard for numerous rescues and lives saved at Lake Powell.  The Detachment Training Officer, Commodore Gary Taylor, has substantial experience operating a similar Coast Guard boat in Alaska.  Assistant Operations Officer, Chris Harshfield is currently serving as the District Captain which covers all of Lake Powell.  These Auxiliarists are training additional members to become qualified to serve on A25531, with a goal of having members operating A25531 as well as their personal vessel facilities on the lake every weekend of the boating season.

    The Lake Powell Detachment is already making a difference.  On its inaugural patrol on Saturday, June 14th, 2014, the crew of A25531 assisted three people aboard a disabled vessel by towing them back to their slip at Wahweap Marina, informed three separate groups of cliff jumpers of the 15’ height limitation and the dangers associated with cliff jumping at the lake, assisted two boaters in locating the rest of their party, advised 12 vessel operators about wakeless speed zones, particularly in and near the narrow Castle Rock cut, warned one operator about the dangers of his passengers riding on the transom and swim step and another about wakeboarding violations.

     The Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and particularly the new Lake Powell Recreational Boating Safety Detachment look forward to seeing all the members of the boating public enjoying Lake Powell this summer.  Please remember to have a designated operator who does not drink alcoholic beverages, keep a close lookout for other boaters and hazards, and most importantly, wear your life jackets.  Let’s all have a safe boating season at Lake Powell!

Written By: Commodore Mike Johnson 

Photos By: Chris Harshfield DCAPT SD/Inland

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