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Flotilla 15-4 What's New!

Open House!

A three-day open house was celebrated at Homosassa Marine in Homosassa, FL on March 3rd thru March 5th. Hundreds of area boating enthusiasts walked among the many beautiful new and pre-owned boats that were on display. Among those attending this wonderful and informative open house were members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary from Homosassa Flotilla 15-04.

Open House
Photo taken in front of the USCG Auxiliary booth at the Homosassa Marine open-house. (Left to Right) Davis “Rusty” Hays, Alan McNamara, Homosassa Marine owners, Ed Masson & Diane Mason. Flotilla 15-04 Commander, Bob Currie, Charlie Law.

The Flotilla 15-04 members were not there to necessarily browse and admire the beautiful boats that were on display at Homosassa Marine, (although many of us did just that), we were there to answer questions about safe boating and provide several kinds of safe boating literature. From our USCG Auxiliary booth we displayed various types of boating safety equipment including several types of personal flotation devices as well as emergency locating equipment and other safety items. Many visitors to our booth took advantage of asking questions about the safety equipment that is required for their specific boat that they currently own or were considering to purchase. Some were asking questions about our local waters while still others were interested in knowing what the USCG Auxiliary was all about. Several were surprised to learn that we actually conduct both surface and air operations. Safety patrols from both the air and on the water as well as our participation in search and rescue missions. Environmental patrols are also a high priority within the USCG Auxiliary as well as providing numerous safe boating courses for the boating community. Several visitors to our booth took the opportunity to schedule a totally free vessel safety check of their boat at their home or dock within Citrus County. If they resided outside of Citrus County arrangements would be made to have the safety check provided be another auxiliary flotilla closer to their home. Still, several visitors wanted information about how they too could become a part of Flotilla 15-04 or one of the other fine area flotillas. They were advised that they need only to contact David “Rusty” Hays at, 352-598-4369 or email him at, rhays1fla@aol.com.

We wish to thank the many visitors who took the time to stop by and visit with us. We also wish to offer our sincere thanks to “Homosassa Marine” owners, Ed and Diane Mason for their invitation to attend their wonderful open-house, thereby allowing us to provide their customers and visitors with important safe boating information!

Flotilla 15-04 wishes all boaters a safe and enjoyable time on our area waters!

Article and photo by Wilbur B. Scott.

Flotilla 15-04 Member Receives Service Award

On February 7, 2017 Flotilla 15-04 member, Alan McNamara was presented his “Ten Year Service” award by Flotilla 15-04 Commander Robert Currie. Alan is very active in flotilla activities and missions. He serves as a crewmember aboard flotilla safety patrol craft. In addition to his crewmember duties Alan is a certified communications specialist. This means when he is not on the water on patrol you may find him working in one of the two communications facilities operated by Homosassa Flotilla 15-04.

Receiving Award
(Left to Right) Alan McNamara, Robert Currie, Flotilla 15-04 Commander, after presenting Alan McNamara with his ten year service award on February 7, 2017 in Homosassa, FL.

If you would like to be a part f this active and exciting USCG Auxiliary flotilla you need only to give David “Rusty: Hays a call at, 352-598-4369 or email him at, rhays1fla@aol.com. Here you will find something that you enjoy doing while at the same time being of service to the boating community and to your country!

Article and photo by Wilbur B. Scott.

Flotilla 15-04 Member Retires

Homosassa Flotilla 15-04 said farewell to long time member, Derek Johnson at the flotilla meeting on February 7, 2017. Derek served Flotilla 15-04 and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary for fifteen years. During his service with the flotilla he has served as a crew member aboard the flotilla’s safety patrol crafts and latterly serving as the Flotilla Finance Officer. Prior to joining the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Derek had a career in retail banking in England.

Member Retires
(Left to Right) Pictured are, Derek Johnson and Flotilla 15-04 Commander Robert Currie after Commander Currie presented Derek with his retirement documents and his USCG Auxiliary “Retirement Pin”.

Originally from England, he has worked and lived in England, Scotland, Iceland, Morocco, Greece, South Korea and Honolulu, Hawaii. Both Derek and his Scottish wife, Nancy became U.S. citizens in 2001 and currently make their home in Homosassa.

Flotilla 15-04 Commander Robert Currie praised Derek for his many contributions to the flotilla and to the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Commander Currie, after reading a citation and letter of congratulations from the Director of Auxiliary, X. Vicencio-Roldan, CDR, USCG. 7Th District, presented Derek with his USCG Auxiliary “Retirement” pin. Thank you, Derek! Your fellow members and shipmates wish you and Nancy happy days with fare winds and following seas!

Article and photo by Wilbur B. Scott.

U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Homosassa Flotilla 15-04 Staff Officers Sworn In

On February 7, 2017, Homosassa Flotilla 15-04 Staff Officers were sworn in by Flotilla Commander Robert Currie and Vice Flotilla Commander George Dooris. Taking their oath of office were: Robert Ward, (Air Operations), Bill Schultz, (Vessel Examinations), Patricia Dooris, (Member Training and Navigation Services), Dolores Brand, (Marine Services), Deidre Imhoff, (Finance), Wilbur Scott, (Public Affairs), David “Rusty” Hays, (Human Resources).

Staff Officers Being Sworn In
(Left to Right) Robert Ward, Bill Schultz, Patricia Dooris, Robert Currie, (Flotilla Commander), Dolores Brand, Deidre Imhoff, Wilbur Scott, George Dooris, (Flotilla Vice Commander), David “Rusty” Hays.

Other staff officers that were appointed but unable to attend due to being out of the area are, LCDR Matt Dooris, (Communication Services), Claire Sampson, (Publications), Mike Mooney, (Information Services), and Charlie Law, (Materials).

It is worth noting that these staff officers while responsible for their individual areas of expertise, are, along with all Flotilla 15-04 members, involved with and participate in other flotilla missions and activities in support of the United States Coast Guard. For example, Flotilla Commander Currie also oversees the Radio Communications Center and Vice Flotilla Commander Dooris is the Flotilla Operations Commander.

If you are 18 years or over and would like to be a part of this very active organization please feel free to contact David “Rusty” Hays at 352-598-4369 or email him at, rhays1fla@aol.com. Veterans, seniors, all are welcome!

Article and photo by Wilbur B. Scott.

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Safe Boating Week 2016

Boaters mark your calendar!

Area boaters are invited to bring their vessels to the Homosassa Walmart store on Sunday May 22, 2016 between the hours of 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM as Homosassa Flotilla 15-04 and Crystal River Flotilla 15-01 kick off “National Safe Boating Week, 2016”! Boaters will receive a totally free USCG Auxiliary “Vessel Safety Check”, (VSC). Those vessels passing the safety check will be awarded the prestigious USCG Auxiliary safety decal. Those vessels not passing the safety check will know immediately what equipment they will need to acquire or update to be in compliance with both state and federal requirements. Those boaters can then schedule a follow-up safety check at their area home or dock. Perhaps a prior commitment prevents you from attending this event. Not a problem! Just drop an email to Bill Schultz at gwillkari@gmail.com or call him at 352-464-3375 and he will arrange for a vessel examiner to come to your area home or dock.

Non boaters too will find something of interest at this event as well. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is concerned with more than just safety on our area waterways, but swimming pools ponds or canals as well that may be accessible to children. There will be literature available concerning safety precautions to be taken not only while boating but in and around all water sites. USCG Auxiliary personnel will be available to show boaters and shoppers the differences between the various types of personal flotation devices, (PFDs) and demonstrate their proper use. For the little ones there will be free coloring books available that will not only entertain, but educate them as well about water safety.

Curious about what we do as members of the USCG Auxiliary? Any of our Homosassa or Crystal River flotilla members will be happy to answer any questions that you may have concerning what we do and how we support the U.S. Coast Guard on the water, in the air and on land while in the classroom, conducting vessel examinations, communications or participating in a host of other missions!

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Article by Wilbur B. Scott.

30 Years of Service! Homosassa Flotilla 15-04 Honors Couple

Homosassa Flotilla 15-04 recently honored Joe and Claire Sampson for their individual thirty years of membership and service with the U.S.Coast Guard Auxiliary and their support of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Sampsons continue to serve as members of Flotilla 15-04.

Joe and Claire Sampson
(Left to right) Flotilla Commander George Dooris, Claire Sampson and Joe Sampson, pictured after receiving their membership award certificates from Commander Dooris for their individual thirty years of service with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The Sampsons have been boaters since 1970. In 1984 they moved from Pennsylvania to Florida to enjoy the beautiful and wonderful waters of the Sunshine State. Even with their knowledge of boating they thought it prudent to attend a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary “Boating Skills and Seamanship” course.

It was that exposure to the USCG Auxiliary and the professionalism of the instructors that sparked their interest in becoming members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Over the years both Joe and Claire have held prestigious positions within the Auxiliary. For example, Joe is the former Division 15 Vice Captain, Division Captain and Rear Commodore West as well as District 7 Member Training Officer.

While Joe was busy with his responsibilities, Claire was busy with her own important responsibilities as District 7 Staff Officer in charge of Operations. This included both air and surface operations within the District. If that was not enough she was also the Chief Qualifications Examiner, (QE) for District 7. In this capacity her responsibilities included certifying that all flotilla Coxswains of Auxiliary patrol craft within the district were indeed qualified to serve as such. The Coxswain is the person in charge of an Auxiliary patrol vessel.

Both Joe and Claire have served as Flotilla Commanders in the past. In addition, both have had the privilege of serving as members of the security team at the 1996 Olympics games in Atlanta, GA. During their distinguished USCG Auxiliary career they each, on four separate occasions, had “Lighthouse Duty” at Loggerhead Key in the Dry Tortugas, each assignment lasting for one month.

Joe is a veteran having served in the U.S. Army. He also served in the U.S. Merchant Marine Service. Just recently this writer learned that Joe, at the age of sixteen, was the youngest crewmember onboard the maiden voyage of the SS UNITED STATES, America’s Flag Ship! Joe made a total of three voyages on board that great ship.

Flotilla 15-04 Commander George Dooris said he and his wife Patricia, (also a Flotilla 15-04 member and past Flotilla Commander), first met Joe and Claire as students attending a “crew class” being jointly taught by both Joe and Claire. Commander Dooris went on to say that “Joe was not above yelling at students for not putting forth a maximum effort”. He went on to describe Joe as a demanding instructor. Both George and Tricia, (Dooris), stated that they know the Sampsons have contributed thousands of volunteer hours in the areas of Operations, Public Education, Member Training and Communications.

Joe and Claire have returned to Pennsylvania and are kind of kicking back so to speak as far as the Auxiliary is concerned. Well, maybe I should say Joe has. Claire still is very busy as the editor and publisher of the Flotilla 15-04 monthly electronic newsletter, “Four Fathoms”. And, in addition, both return to Homosassa and Flotilla 15-04 during the Fall and assist with the training of flotilla members as well as conduct safety patrols on the Homosassa River and the Gulf of Mexico.

From this writer and all of the members of Flotilla 15-04 and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, we say, thank you Joe and Claire for a job WELL DONE!

Article and photo by Wilbur B. Scott.

Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Wants You In The U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

Are you looking for something interesting and exciting to do while at the same time providing a valuable service to your fellow boaters? Then look no further. No matter what your area of interest is, you will find it with Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

For those of you who love boats and being on the water, we have a place for you as a member of one of our boat crews, participating in surface patrols, exciting search and rescue missions as well as interesting training operations with the U.S. Coast Guard. Perhaps your interest is in the environment. Then join us as we patrol for oil spills and other hazardous material and dangers to our waterways. Perhaps you would rather qualify as one of our “Courtesy Vessel Examiners”, providing a valuable service to both recreational boaters and some commercial vessels as well.

You say that you enjoy the water, but you love flying more? Then why not be a part of our air wing as a well trained air observer flying air patrols over our Gulf waters and along the coastline. If you are a licensed pilot or aircraft owner we can definitely use you and perhaps your aircraft as well.

Perhaps you enjoy teaching others. Then why not become one of our certified instructors, teaching a variety of subjects to the boating public as well as training your fellow U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary members?

Maybe you are someone who has always wanted to be a reporter, writer or photographer. If so, then our “Public Affairs” officer would sure like to have you come onboard covering patrols and rescue missions, writing stories and meeting with members of the local press.

Perhaps you are an amateur radio operator or someone who has an interest in radio communications. If so, then become one of our “Communications Specialists”, standing radio watches, (you really don’t have to stand), monitoring and participating in exciting search and rescue operations and patrols. If that isn’t exciting enough for you then perhaps you will be invited to stand radio watches at the U.S. Coast Guard station in Yankeetown”. If you happen to be one of those communications equipment technician types then you may find enjoyment here keeping our equipment in tip top shape.

These are just some of the interesting and exciting areas of Flotilla 15-4 in which you can be a part of. Fellowship too plays a large role in our flotilla and “Team Coast Guard”. Here you will meet new friends and find a common bond with others who enjoy being of service while at the same time serving your country. Men and women, veterans and non-veterans, young and senior citizen alike are welcome as members of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4. We invite you to join us and

wear our uniform proudly. If you are a veteran, you may proudly wear your earned military ribbons and devices as well. Join us and become a part of the U.S. Coast Guard family.

We in Citrus County are indeed fortunate to have so many worthwhile volunteer organizations in our area. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, known far and wide as “America’s Volunteer Life Savers”, is the only volunteer service that was created by an “Act of Congress” back in 1939. I became a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary17 years ago after completing a 40 year law enforcement career and retiring to Homosassa. I chose Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 because of the public educational programs and services that they provide to the boating public, as well as the training they continue to provide to their members. Why not join us and see for yourself? You can easily obtain membership information by calling David “Rusty” Hays at 352-598-4369 or you can email him at, rhays1fla@aol.com. We meet at the West Citrus County Senior Center, 8940 West Veterans Drive in Homosassa on the first Tuesday evening of every month at 7:00 PM.

Why not stop by and give us a look?

Flotilla 15-4 Members Earn Awards and a New Member is Sworn In


Flotilla 15-4 member, Mike Mooney recently earned his certification as a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary “Recreational Boating Safety Visitor Program” representative. His duties include visiting area marinas and marine dealers where he provides safe boating information and literature as well as answer questions pertaining to safe boating techniques and regulations to the both staff and customers who may be present.

Following the presentation of his certification by Flotilla 15-4 Commander George Dooris, Mike was also presented with a certificate for his successful completion of the in-service “Navigation A” training course.

For those of you who may be familiar with military insignia devices you may have noticed the “Twin Dolphins” device attached to Mike’s uniform signifying that he is veteran having served on board a U.S. submarine. Mike served on the USS Shark, (SSN-591), a nuclear submarine. Military veterans are permitted to proudly wear their earned military ribbons and devices on their USCG Auxiliary uniform.

Mike Mooney Receiving Award
Pictured left to right is Flotilla 15-4 Commander George Dooris and Flotilla 15-4 member Mike Mooney. On July 7, 2015 in Homosassa, Commander Dooris presented Mr. Mooney with his certification as a USCG Auxiliary, “Recreational Boating Safety Visitor Program” representative. In addition, Mike was presented a Certificate of Completion of an in-service “Navigation A” training course. Photo by Wilbur B. Scott.

On July 7, 2015, Neil D’Agata of Homosassa was sworn in as the newest member of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Neil is one of many area veterans from all of the branches of service who have joined the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. These veterans serve alongside non veteran men and women members who love being of service to the boating public and to their country. Neil’s interest in the Coast Guard Auxiliary is not surprising since he is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran having served on board the USCG Cutter, “Steadfast”, (USCGC 623), as well as various shore installations.

New Member Sworn In
Pictured left to right is Flotilla 15-4 Commander, George Dooris swearing in new Flotilla 15-4 memberNeil D’Agata at the July 7, 2015 Flotilla meeting in Homosassa, FL. Mr. D’Agata is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran having served on board the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, Steadfast, (USCGC 623) as well as various shore installations. Photo by Wilbur B. Scott.

On July 7, 2015 Patricia and George Dooris of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary received the prestigious “Auxiliary Performance Award”. This couple continues to contribute numerous volunteer hours of service teaching public education courses as well as conducting in-service training courses for flotilla personnel.

Both George and “Tricia”, along with their crews and other patrol crews conduct surface safety and environmental patrols on the Homosassa River and Gulf of Mexico. Often they work hand in hand with a Flotilla 15-4 air crew. Especially during search and rescue missions.

In addition to receiving this award, it is interesting to note that both Patricia and George have been recognized for the many volunteer hours they continue to spend at the U.S. Coast Guard station in Yankeetown, FL as Communication Specialists. Each of them contribute an average of sixty hours per month in this endeavor alone.

Flotilla 15-4 and their members are very active assisting the boating public and the U.S. Coast Guard by providing safe boating programs for the boasting public conducting free vessel safety checks, operating safety patrols on the Homosassa river and our coastal waters, participating in search and rescue missions, as well as air patrol operations and many other activities.

Georg and Patricia Dooris Receive Awards
Pictured left to right are Patricia and George Dooris who on July 7, 2015 in Homosassa, FL received the prestigious, U.S. Coast Guard “Auxiliary Performance Award” for their numerous and continuing contributions of service to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and to the U.S. Coast Guard. Photo by Wilbur B. Scott.

On July7, 2015 Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 member Wilbur B. Scott was presented with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary “Sustained Service Award” by Flotilla 15-4 Commander George Dooris. This award is presented to a member who has contributed a minimum of 750 hours of documented volunteer service to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

It is interesting to note that this is the fourth such award presented to this member, thus representing 3000 hours of documented volunteer service.

Wilbur Scott Receiving Award
Pictured are Flotilla 15-4 Commander George Dooris, (left), and Flotilla 15-4 member Wilbur B. Scott, (right), after Commander Dooris presented Scott with his fourth “Sustained Service Award”, representing 3000 documented volunteer hours to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Photo by Patricia Dooris.

On August 4, 2015 Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 member David “Rusty” Hays was presented with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary “Sustained Service Award” by Flotilla 15-4 Commander George Dooris. This award is presented to a member who has contributed a minimum of 750 hours of documented volunteer service to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

It is interesting to note that this is the third such award presented to this member, representing 2250 hours of documented volunteer service. Rusty has served Flotilla 15-4 as a past Flotilla Commander, boat crew member, Communications Specialist and Instructor. He is also the “Go To” guy for those of you who may be seeking membership in Flotilla 15-4. He became a member of Flotilla 15-4 because he enjoys being of service to others and being active in community affairs. When not “on duty” with the USCG Auxiliary Rusty manages his own business as a Certified Financial Planner.

Though Rusty has traveled throughout the world and has visited many wonderful places, he feels that his home state of Florida, with its natural beauty, is his favorite spot to be. He loves being on the water and when not on patrol with the USCG Auxiliary he enjoys fishing from his boat along with his pal, “Gemma”, a Golden Lab who also just happens to be the Flotilla 15-4 mascot.

Like many members of Flotilla 15-4 Rusty is a veteran having served in the U.S. Navy on board the Attack Transport ship, USS Monrovia, (APA-31) and the Destroyer Tender, USS Yellowstone, (AD-27). 


Pictured left to right is Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Commander George Dooris congratulating David “Rusty” Hays after presenting him with the USCG Auxiliary “Sustained Service Award”. This is the third such award presented to Mr. Hays and represents 2250 documented hours of volunteer service to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Mr. William “Bill” Mauer, a member of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, was recognized for his ten years of dedicated service to the Coast Guard Auxiliary. On August 4, 2015 Bill was presented with the “U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Membership Service Award” by Flotilla 15-4 Commander George Dooris.

Mr. Mauer has served as a crew member aboard Flotilla patrol vessels as well as serving as a Communications Specialist. Bill currently serves as the Flotilla Staff Officer in charge of Communications, a post he has occupied for several years. In addition he serves as an instructor teaching safe boating classes for the members of the boating community as well as training Flotilla 15-4 personnel in the area of communications. Bill has always enjoyed teaching, but then that should come as no surprise considering his background.

He was awarded a PhD in Science Education from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1991. Bill’s teaching career spans more than 38 years teaching Chemistry in both high school and in college. He is indeed a great asset to Flotilla 15-4.

On those few occasions when he is not involved with USCG Auxiliary activities Bill enjoys being on the water with his wife, Cathy, who incidentally is also a valuable member of Flotilla 15-4.


Pictured left to right is Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Commander George Dooris congratulating William Mauer after presenting him with the USCG Auxiliary Membership Service Award. This award represents ten years of dedicated service to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

On September 1, 2015, Alan McNamara was presented the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary “Sustained Service Award”. This award is presented to a member who has contributed 750 hours of documented volunteer hours of service to the USCG Auxiliary. The award was presented by Flotilla 15-4 Commander, George Dooris at the flotilla’s September meeting in Homosassa.

Alan joined the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary almost ten years ago shortly after attending a “Boating Skills and Seamanship” course presented by Flotilla 15-4. He said he was impressed with the knowledge and professionalism of the Flotilla 15-4 instructors. He loves being on the water and being of service to others.

While serving with Flotilla 15-4 Alan has participated in many surface patrols aboard flotilla patrol vessels as a certified crew member and has participated in several search and rescue missions over the years. He is has also qualified and been certified as a USCG Auxiliary “Communications Specialist”.

Alan, who resides in Beverly Hills, FL and is a welder by trade is looking forward to
retirement in the not too distant future. He feels he will then have more time doing the things he loves, enjoying more time with his family, traveling and spending more time on the water with Flotilla 15-4!


Pictured left to right is Homosassa Flotilla Commander George Dooris, as he congratulates flotilla member Alan McNamara after presenting him with the USCG Auxiliary “Sustained Service” award.

Flotilla 15-4 is always looking for new members. Why not join us? Become a member of one of our boat or air crews, public education instructors, vessel examiner, communications specialist or any number of other areas of interest. We would love to have you! For membership information please feel free to give David “Rusty” Hays a call at 352-598-4369 or email him at rhays1fla@aol.com.

Article by Wilbur B. Scott.

Local Boaters Graduate from Boating Course

Eight area boaters recently participated in graduation ceremonies on October 30, 2014 after successfully completing a 16-hour U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary “Boating Skills and Seamanship” course sponsored by Homosassa Flotilla 15-4. The group consisted of local boaters including novice and experienced boaters alike. Some are longtime residents while other have moved here recently or are seasonal visitors.

Boating Class
Pictured in the photo are class participants, Ron Mehn, Mary Palmer, Todd Hockert, Ron May, Richard Mahar, Penny Peterson, Pamela Gudim and Ben Blackshear. Also pictured, (in uniform), are Flotilla 15-4 Instructors, Bob Currie and Anna McQuade.  Photo by Ned Barry.

When you learned to drive a car, you had to take lessons. You learned traffic signs identification, signals and rules of the road. You gained skill through experience and learned to use common sense and good judgment. Boating requires no less! On today’s crowded waterways it is much too dangerous to learn by trial and error. You too should do as these eight safe boaters have done and attend a “Boating Skills and Seamanship” program offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Wilbur B. Scott may be contacted via email at, seacapt34448@yahoo.com.

Flotilla 15-4 Members Earn Awards

Five members of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 recently earned various awards for their individual accomplishments and service to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Group Picture
Pictured left to right after receiving their individual awards are Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 members, Michael Morin, Joseph Campbell, Dolores Brand, David Claspell, Robert Currie and Flotilla Commander David “Rusty” Hays who presented the awards.

After successfully passing “on the water operations” testing, flotilla 15-4 members Michael Morin and Joe Campbell earned their recertification as a crew members on board USCG Auxiliary patrol vessels. Crew members must undergo testing and earn recertification every five years.

Flotilla members Dolores Brand and Robert Currie each received the USCG Auxiliary “Sustained Service Award”. This award is presented to a member who has contributed 750 volunteer hours of documented service to the Coast Guard Auxiliary. It is of worthy to note that this is the second such award presented to Mr. Currie.

Member David Claspell was presented a “Membership Award” for his ten years of continuous service with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The awards were presented to each recipient by Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays during ceremonies conducted in Homosassa, FL on August 5, 2014.

Article (and Photo) by Wilbur B. Scott.

Air Operations Commander Honored

Ron O’Connell, Air Operations Commander of Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary was honored on July1, 2014 in Homosassa for his continuing outstanding contributions to Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 air operations and to the U.S. Coast Guard. Commander O’Connell has logged more than 187 flight hours as an Aircraft Commander while flying 74 assorted missions for the U.S. Coast Guard. It is noted that Ron has logged the most mission flight hours as an Aircraft Commander of all U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary air crews assigned to USCG Air Station Clearwater.


Left to right: Homosassa Flotilla 15-4Commander David “Rusty” Hays is pictured congratulating Ron O’Connell, (Flotilla 15-4 Air Operations Commander), after presenting him with a certificate which reads in part, “In Appreciation of Outstanding Volunteer Contributions for Operations”. 

While Flotilla 15-4 patrol vessels have an area of responsibility, (AOR), that includes the Homosassa River and extending out 25 nautical miles into the Gulf of Mexico the patrol air unit’s AOR extends 50 nautical miles out over the Gulf of Mexico, south to Marco Island, FL and north to Perry, FL. Besides routine safety and environmental patrols, the flight crew participates in search and rescue operations, logistics missions and provides law enforcement assistance for the USCG.

Commander O’Connell is a retired United States Air Force Command pilot having logged more than 200 combat missions during the Viet Nam war. He is also a Federal Aviation Administration, (FAA), licensed Flight Instructor and Flight Examiner.

Ron’s skills are displayed not only in the air but in the classroom as well where he shares his knowledge and experience of air operations as one of several Flotilla 15-4 instructors who provide in-service training for all flotilla15-4 members.

For information on how you can become a part of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4, please feel free to contact Ned Barry at 352-249-1042 or by email at, nedbarry115@gmail.com.

Article (and Photo) by Wilbur B. Scott

Vice Flotilla Commander Earns Award

On July 1, 2014, Vice Flotilla Commander, Robert Currie was presented with the “Auxiliary  Commandant’s Letter of Commendation”. As a five year member of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Bob serves as a crew member aboard flotilla patrol vessels as well as a Vessel Examiner, Public Education Instructor and Communications Specialist. In addition, he personally visits with area marine dealers, answering their questions and providing them and their customers with valuable safe boating literature.

 
From left to right: Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays congratulates flotilla 15-4 member Robert Currie after presenting him with the prestigious, “Auxiliary Commandant’s Letter of Commendation” award.

The citation award said in part, “You are commended for your outstanding performance of duty. By your meritorious service you have upheld the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary”.

Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays said, “Bob’s hard work and dedication not only earned him this prestigious award, but the sincere admiration and appreciation of his shipmates as well”.

If you would like to become a member of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 please feel free to contact Ned Barry at 352-249-1042 or email him at nedbarry115@gmail.com.

Article (and Photo) by Wilbur B. Scott

USCG Auxiliary Member Earns Award for Service

With just under three years of service as a member of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4, Georgia Young has been one busy lady! With her love of boating and working with people she found Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 just to be what she was looking for. One of her first assignment requests was to become a “Public Education Instructor”. As an instructor she, along with other flotilla instructors, teaches various safe boating courses to the boating community. These courses cover a variety of topics including basic boating skills and seamanship as well as both state and federal regulations. These courses she points out, are for both novice and experienced boaters alike and are free except for a small fee for materials which the student may keep.

Receiving Award
Left to right: Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Commander, David “Rusty” Hays is pictured congratulating flotilla member Georgia Young after presenting her with the “United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Performance Award” on July 1, 2014.

Georgia is also one of several flotilla 15-4 vessel examiners who conduct courtesy vessel examinations to assure the boat owner/operator that his or her vessel has all the required safety equipment on board and is functioning properly. These vessel safety checks are totally free and may be conducted at your residence or at the dock. If your vessel is found to comply with the federal and state requirements then your vessel will be awarded the coveted safety decal that will be displayed on your craft. If it does not meet all of the requirements, then you will be told what you need to do to correct the deficiency and be awarded the decal. No enforcement action is taken for vessels that fail as a result of this vessel safety check.

If Georgia isn’t already busy enough, you will find her visiting some twenty seven Marine dealers and marinas in the Homosassa area that she refers to as “partners in safe boating”. Here she answers questions about safe boating issues put to her by the dealers and/or their customers. In addition she provides the dealers with a quantity of brochures covering boating safety and local, state and federal regulations that are available for the boating public.

For her outstanding volunteer contributions to the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary it is no wonder that on July 1, 2014 she was presented with the “United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Performance Award”. “Wouldn’t surprise me any if she doesn’t already have her eye on other areas of the USCG Auxiliary where she can be of even more service to the boating public, perhaps as a crew member on one of our flotilla 15-4 patrol boats or aircraft” said Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays.

If you would like to receive information on how you too can become a member of this very active and exciting group of volunteers you need only to call Ned Barry at, 352-249-1042 or email him at, nedbarry115@gmail.com.

Article (and Photo) by Wilbur B. Scott

Protecting Scallopers

 
Tricia and George Dooris returning from a safety patrol of the Homosassa River and Gulf of Mexico (Photo by Anna Hughes).

Auxiliary Members Complete Patrol Course

A group of area USCG Auxiliary members recently completed the “Auxiliary Patrol” (AUXPAT) course. The course of study was completed over a three week period and included topics such as Patrol Requirements, Safety and Survival Equipment, Crew Duties and Responsibilities as well as Patrol Organization and Health Hazards to the Crew. The course was taught by Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Instructors Patricia and George Dooris. During the course of study the students also had to complete many hours of homework assignments.

Participating in the program were Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 members David “Rusty” Hays, Herb Zimmerman, Danielle Walker and Robert Currie. From Crystal River Flotilla 15-1 were members Linda Jones, Richard Culp and Daniel Farrar who also completed the course successfully.

Course Completion Certificates
Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 members, (pictured left to right), after receiving their certificates are David “Rusty” Hays, Herb Zimmerman and Danielle Walker. Not pictured but also successfully completing the course were Flotilla 15-4 member, Robert Currie as well as Crystal River Flotilla 15-1 members, Linda Jones, Richard Culp and Daniel Farrar.

In service training plays an important role in U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary membership. It is necessary for members to keep abreast of the latest developments in mission techniques, equipment and regulations.

If you would like to become a member of this important volunteer arm of The United States Coast Guard please feel free to contact Ned Barry at 352- 249-1042 or via email at nedbarry115@gmail.com.

Article (and Photo) by Wilbur B. Scott  

Memorial Day Ceremony

Opening Ceremony
Color Guard: Leading and carrying the U.S. Flag is American Legion member, Jimmy White. Left to right first row behind White are, Wilbur Scott, USCG Aux Flotilla 15-4 and American Legion member, Joe Barry. Left to right in last row is ? Dolan, USCG Aux Flotilla 15-8 and American Legion member, Harold Beville.

Munro Monument
Monument honoring “Medal of Honor” recipient, Douglas Munru, USCG.

Photo by Patricia Dooris

Georgia Young Receives Award

Georgia Young Receives Award
Pictured left to right is Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays congratulating flotilla member Georgia Young after presenting her with her certification credentials as U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Examiner. Georgia is also very active in various other components of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4.

Photo by Wilbur B. Scott

Jack Sparling Receives Award

Jack Sparling Receives Award
Pictured left to right is Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays congratulating flotilla member Jack Sparling with his ten year membership award in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. During his ten years with Flotilla 15-4 Jack has been very active serving as a Vessel Examiner and crew member as well as serving in various other important capacities within Flotilla 15-4.

Photo by Wilbur B. Scott 

Opening Day of National Safe Boating Week Huge Success!

Lots of boaters and other members of the public took advantage of receiving free boating information and visiting with members of Flotilla 15-4 while shopping at the Homosassa Walmart store on Saturday May 17, 2014. Saturday was the first day of National Safe Boating Week. Numerous boaters made appointments to have Flotilla 15-4 Vessel Examiners come to their homes to conduct a totally free vessel safety check of their boat(s). Still others brought their boats along with them to Walmart and received an on the spot vessel safety check.


Flotilla 15-4 member Robert Currie, (2nd from left), makes a point while discussing boating safety issues with an unidentified shopper at the Homosassa Walmart store on Saturday May 17, 2014 which was the first day of National Safe Boating Week. Flotilla members Herb Zimmerman, (far left), and Elaine Miranda, (Far right), looking on.


Crystal River resident Robert Gregg, (Right), is pictured with Flotilla 15-4 Vessel Examiner, Elaine Miranda, (Left), after his boat successfully passed the Vessel Safety Check at the Homosassa Walmart store on Saturday May 17, 2014. A second boat can be seen at the left waiting his turn for a totally free vessel safety check. 

Each of the six Flotilla 15-4 members who participated in this safe boating activity felt it was a huge success and each agreed that answering the many questions put to them by shoppers about our area waterways and safe boating issues as well as information concerning membership in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary was very encouraging.

Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays wishes to thank the management of the Homosassa Walmart Store and their wonderful staff for their continued support of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and it’s efforts in promoting boating safety. It is indeed appreciated!

If you would like information how you too can receive a totally free vessel safety check or information regarding membership in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary please feel free to contact Ned Barry at 352-249-1042 or via email at nedbarry115@gmail.com.

Article (and Photos) by Wilbur B. Scott  

Special Award Presented to Member of Flotilla 15-4

Ray Koeppel of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary recently received the “Sustained Service” award. This award is presented to members who have contributed a minimum of 750 hours of documented volunteer service to the Coast Guard Auxiliary. It is interesting to note that this is the ninth such award he has received!

Ray Koeppel Receiving Award 
Left to right: Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays presenting Flotilla 15-4 Operations Commander Raymond Koeppel with his ninth “Sustained Service Award. The presentation was made May 6, 2014 at the West Citrus Community Center on Veterans Drive in Homosassa, FL.

Flotilla 15-4 is very active assisting the US Coast Guard with promoting homeland security, providing safe boating programs for the boasting public, conducting free vessel safety checks, safety patrols on the rivers and coastal waters, search/rescue operations and air patrols along with many other activities.

Flotilla 15-4 is always looking for dedicated individuals who have an interest in these endeavors. Anyone interested in joining Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 is encouraged to contact Ned Barry via email at, nedbarry115@gmail.com or call him at 352-249-1042.

Article (and Photo) by Wilbur B. Scott

Group Graduates from USCG Auxiliary Boating Safety Course

On May 1, 2014 seven area boaters graduated from a boating safety course entitled, “Boating Skills and Seamanship”. These students were provided with information and instruction on such subjects as Federal and state regulations as it pertains to the safe operation of boats and other watercraft, navigational aids and identification and numerous other subjects designed to improve their skills as operators of their pleasure craft as they enjoy our area’s beautiful waterways. The course was presented by members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 15-4 in Homosassa, FL.

If you would like to enroll in one of Flotilla 15-4’s boating safety courses or would like USCG Auxiliary membership information please feel free to email Ned Barry at nedbarry@tampabay.rr.com or call him at 352-249-1042.

Hurricane Season Preparation

On April 12, 2014, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 played host to the Division 15 Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary as well as Flotilla Commanders and some of their staff from throughout the Division 15 area. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss preparations for the upcoming hurricane season as well as other topics. Division 15 Commander Paul Pelletier led the meeting assisted by Immediate Past Division Commander Craig Elliot. Also participating in the meeting was USCG Station Yankeetown Chief, Paul Chandler who expressed his appreciation for the valuable support that the USCG Auxiliary provides to the United States Coast Guard.

Discussing Hurricane Preparedness
(Left), Division 15 Commander, Paul Pelletier and (right), Immediate Past Division 15 Commander, Craig Elliot.

The Division Commander reminded participants that hurricane season begins June 1, 2014 and continues through November 30, 2014. He stressed the need for all Division 15 flotillas to begin their preparations now for the upcoming hurricane season. He went on to announce that there will be division wide hurricane drills conducted as a part of the preparation process. Division staff also advised that the “Condition of Readiness” as it pertains to hurricanes will automatically be set on June 1, 2014 and extend through November 30, 2014 commencing with “Condition IV”. As weather conditions dictate, the following Conditions of Readiness will be activated;

- Condition III: A condition of warning of the probability of 50 or greater knot winds within 48 hours.

- Condition II: A condition of winds of probability of 50 or greater knot winds expected within 24 hours.

- Condition I: A condition of maximum preparedness for 50 or greater knot winds, expected within 12 hours.

Among other topics covered at the meeting were flotilla preparations for “National Safe Boating Week” which begins May 17, 2014. Flotilla Commanders were reminded that if they had not already done so, to immediately begin making plans for activities promoting boating safety. Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 for example will be at the Walmart Store south of Homosassa from 8:00am until 2:00pm on May 17th. They will be distributing safe boating literature as well as conducting free vessel safety inspections for area boaters.

The Division 15 meeting was conducted at the West Citrus Community Center in Homosassa. Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays wishes to thank the Citrus County BOCC for the use of this facility for this and other meetings as well as for their continued support of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Persons interested in joining the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary may call Ned Barry at, 352-249-1042 or via email at, nedbarry115@gmail.com.

Article by Wilbur B. Scott

On the Water and in the Air, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 is on Patrol

If you have been boating on any of our area Rivers or out on the Gulf of Mexico on a Saturday, Sunday or any major holiday, chances are you have seen the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary boats. These guys and gals are out there to assist you and to be on the alert for dangerous situations that may arise. Perhaps they have come to your aid due to a break down, maybe you were lost and needed directions or perhaps you had a medical emergency on board that required immediate attention, or it may have been nothing more than a friendly wave. Whatever the case I am sure that you felt just a bit more secure knowing they were on the water to assist you in time of need. Their “patrol boats” come in all shapes and sizes and that is because they are privately owned pleasure craft usually belonging to one of the auxiliary members on board. They are easy to identify with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary “PATROL” sign boards attached to the vessel. You will see the crew wearing the USCG Auxiliary blue uniform and always the familiar bright orange life jacket with the “U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary” displayed on the back. Only after an extensive inspection and Coast Guard acceptance do their boats, (or aircraft) become vessels of the Federal Government and in particular, the United States Coast Guard while conducting safety patrols or other missions operating under coast guard orders. During search and rescue missions that are ordered by the U.S. Coast Guard, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 patrol vessels coordinate their search strategies with members of the Flotilla 15-4 air wing, working together as a team.


Flotilla 15-4 Boat crew preparing to get underway for patrol mission on the Homosassa River and Gulf of Mexico. Left to right: David “Rusty” Hays, Robert Currie and Ray Koeppel, (Coxswain).


Flotilla 15-4 Air crew conducting a “Pre-flight inspection of their aircraft prior to departure on a patrol over the Gulf Of Mexico. Left to Right: Shon Limor, Guenther Noder and Ron O’Connell, (Pilot in Command).

Are these people just out for a pleasure cruise or airplane ride at tax payer’s expense? Not hardly! Let’s take a look at a typical patrol. The boat crew consists of a coxswain (skipper) and two crew members, (sometimes more). Coast Guard Auxiliary Patrol Boat crews are trained and certified in dealing with numerous on-water emergencies. These unpaid civilians volunteers undergo extensive training and exacting certification standards before they qualify as a member of a boat crew or as a member of one of the air crews. Many of the members are long time pleasure boat owners or fishermen with many years of experience on and around our local waters. While others did not have any boating experience at all until they received their training after becoming a member of a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla.

At the beginning of each patrol or mission and before leaving the dock, the skipper inspects his/her vessel for seaworthiness and examines onboard equipment. The skipper then updates the crew on the area of patrol, reviews navigation charts, checks weather forecasts, makes crew assignments and confirms radio contact with his communications center. The command pilot of a patrol aircraft conducts the same procedures as it pertains to his aircraft and crew. Whenever a USCG Auxiliary vessel or aircraft is on a mission there must be one and sometimes two radio communications operators on duty at the communications center. When the skipper feels the vessel and its crew are ready he contacts U.S. Coast Guard headquarters at “Station Yankeetown” and reports they are ready to commence their patrol. Yankeetown then assigns them an official mission order number and it is at this point that the vessel becomes the property of the U. S. Government for the duration of the patrol or mission.

While the surface patrol may travel as far as 25 miles out into the gulf, the patrols as a rule will cover a total distance of about thirty miles. The aircraft crews however patrol an area over the west coast of Florida covering a much larger area. Each patrol may take up to four hours and sometimes longer depending upon the number of incidents they encounter. While on patrol surface vessels check all of the aids to navigation, (signs, lights and markers) to see that they are in working condition and in proper position. They search for boaters who may be in distress, (marine life as well), continually observing changing weather conditions and warn boaters of approaching severe weather or other navigational hazards. The crew also keeps a watch for evidence of pollution or situations that may lead to a pollution problem. While on patrol they maintain contact with other surface and air units, their local communications center and Coast Guard Station Yankeetown as well when circumstances dictate.

If you would like to be a part of this exciting group of dedicated volunteers, please feel free to give Ned Barry a call at 352-249-1042 or via email at nedbarry115@gmail.com. Incidentally, if you are one who prefers to keep your feet on dry land then please be aware that Flotilla15-4 has many other opportunities for you to participate in as one of our public education instructors, communications operators, vessels inspectors, as well as in several other assignments where you can be of service to the boating public and the U.S. Coast Guard!

Wilbur B. Scott may be contacted via email at, seacapt34447@yahoo.com.

Flotilla 15-4 Awards


On April 1, 2014 Homosassa Flotilla member Ned Barry, (right), was awarded a certificate for completing ten years as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. He was presented with the award by Flotilla 15-4 Vice Commander Robert Curry, (left).


On April 1, 2014, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 member David Claspell, (right), was awarded a certificate for completing five years of service as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. In addition to the certificate he was presented with the five year membership service ribbon. The presentation was made by Flotilla 15-4 Vice Commander Robert Curry, (left).


On April 1, 2014 Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 member Herb Zimmerman was presented with his certification as a crew member aboard Flotilla 15-4 patrol vessels. Mr. Zimmerman successfully participated in many hours of both on and off the water training in order to achieve his certification. Making the presentation was Flotilla 15-4 Vice Commander Robert Curry, (left).


On April 1, 2014 Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 member William Schultz, (right), was presented with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary “Sustained Service Award” by Flotilla 15-4 Vice Commander Robert Curry, (left). This award is presented to members who have contributed a minimum of 750 hours of documented volunteer service to the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Photos by Wilbur B. Scott.

Joseph Frack Recognized For Service

U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary member Joseph Frack was recognized for his many years of service with Homosassa Flotilla 15-4. Mr. Frack was presented his award by Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays at the Flotilla monthly meeting held on March 4, 2014 in Homosassa. Mr. Frack has served as a crew member on board Flotilla 15-4 patrol vessels as well as a crew member on board flotilla patrol aircraft.


Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays congratulates flotilla member Joseph Frack after presenting him with an award for his many years of service as a crew member on board both Flotilla 15-4 patrol vessel and Flotilla 15-4 patrol aircraft.

During an interview after the award Joe said, “I recall his first flight as a pilot was on 29 May 2006. I have been flying with Ron O’Connel, (Flotilla 15-4 Air Operations Commander), ever since that date”. Mr. Frack noted that he first qualified as a crew member on board flotilla patrol vessels on 26 June 2006 and has been an active crew member since that time.

Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 continues to attract new members who wish to be of service to their community, the boating public, the U.S. Coast Guard and to their country. If you are one of those who may be looking for some exciting things to do, why not do as Joe Frack did and join us at Flotilla 15-4. For membership information please feel free to contact, Ned Barry at 352-249-1042 or via email at nedbarry115@gmail.com.

Anna McQuade Receives Auxiliary Award

Anna J. McQuade of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary recently received the prestigious “Auxiliary Commandant's Letter of Commendation” award. This award recognizes members for special contributions and efforts expended by them within their area of responsibility in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.


Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays congratulates Anna J. McQuade after presenting her with the prestigious “Auxiliary Commandant’s Letter of Commendation”.

The citation presented to her by Flotilla 15-4 Commander David “Rusty” Hays read impart, “Demonstrating inspirational leadership and broad administrative skills you created an extensive network of 23 marine dealers to provide direct support to the Flotilla in its public safety education program. You are commended for your outstanding performance of duty. By your meritorious service you have upheld the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary”.

Flotilla 15-4 is very active assisting the US Coast Guard with promoting homeland security, providing safe boating programs for the boasting public as well as conducting free vessel safety checks, safety patrols on the rivers and coastal waters, search/rescue operations and air patrols along with many other activities.

Flotilla 15-4 is always looking for dedicated individuals who have an interest in these endeavors. Anyone interested in joining Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 is encouraged to contact Ned Barry via email at, nedbarry115@gmail.com or call him at 352-249-1042.

Written By: Wilbur B. Scott

New Member Sworn In

On March 4, 2014 Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Commander Rusty Hays had the honor of swearing in William Davis Jr. as a new member of Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. As part of his processing into the USCG Auxiliary Mr. Davis successfully completed the required “Team Coordination Training” program, (TCT). He will now be given the opportunity to choose what activities he wishes to become active in and receive additional specialized training. Mr. Davis will have the opportunity to become involved with one or more of numerous activities available within the flotilla such as a crew member aboard one of the flotilla patrol vessels, a member of a Flotilla 15-4 air crew, a vessel examiner, communications specialist, public education instructor, marine program visitor or any number of other important services provided by the USCG Auxiliary to the boating public and in support of the U.S. Coast Guard.


Flotilla 15-4 Commander Rusty Hays, (far right), administers the oath of membership into the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary to William Davis Jr, (far left), while Flotilla 15-4 Vice Commander Robert Currie, (center), looks on. The swearing in ceremony took place at the West Citrus Community Center in Homosassa, FL on March 4, 2014. 

If you too are interested in becoming a part of Flotilla 15-4 please feel free to contact Ned Barry at 352-249-1042 or via email at, nedbarry115@gmail.com. Ned will be happy to provide you with membership information.

Written By: Wilbur B. Scott  

Boaters Have “Rules of the Road”

During a recent graduation ceremony involving a group of local boaters, they were asked what they felt was the most difficult part of the “Boating Skills and Seamanship” course they had just completed. Most agreed that the “Rules of The Road” portion of the course was not only the most difficult but probably the most important part of the course. This course was offered and presented by members of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The group consisted of eleven local boaters including novice and experienced boaters alike. Some are longtime residents while other have moved here recently or are seasonal visitors. In any case, their response made me think that perhaps a bit of a refresher course might be in order for those of you boaters out there who have not yet attended this course, or one of the many other free courses offered by the USCG Auxiliary.

Boating Class
Back row left to right: Chuck Braman, John Tippery, Charles Wright, Michael Carter, Tim Griffin, Sue Ann McClutchey, John McClutchey.

Front row left to right: Mary Ann Plummer, Ray Sherwood, Linda Garrett, Don Garrett. Photo taken by Wilbur B. Scott (02-06-14).

When you learned to drive a car, you had to take lessons. You learned traffic signs identification, signals and rules. You gained skill through experience and learned to use common sense and good judgment. Boating requires no less! On today’s crowded waterways it is much too dangerous to learn by trial and error. One of the essential ingredients to boating safety is the marine rules of the road. As a responsible skipper you have a duty to know these rules and to observe them. Their primary function is to prevent collisions on the water. If you fail to observe the rules and a collision results, the plea that you did not know them, will probably not be a valid defense.

There are three basic boating situations which could risk collision on the water. In each, your vessel will either be the “burdened” or the “privileged” vessel. The burdened boat is always required to change course and yield the right of way to the privileged boat. You will be in either a meeting situation, crossing situation or an overtaking situation when the risk of collision is the greatest.

Boaters sometimes become confused in a head-on meeting situation with another vessel. When two boats under power meet each other, neither one has the right of way. Both vessels must alter course to starboard (right) sufficiently to allow safe passage of the other vessel on the port (left) side.

In a crossing situation, the vessel on your starboard side is always the privileged boat. As the burdened boat, you are obligated to alter course and allow the other boat to pass safely. In an overtaking situation, the burdened vessel is always the boat that is passing. In most instances, the passing boat should overtake the other vessel on the port side. A single blast on your horn indicates to the other skipper that you intend passing to his port. Two blasts indicate you are passing to his starboard side.

At one time or another, boaters may encounter a possible collision situation with a sailboat. If your boat is under power and the sailboat is under sail only, the sailboat has the right of way. A sailboat that is under power however, is classed as a power boat and must abide by power boat rules.

As a prudent skipper, you should recognize that the rules of the road are guidelines only. If you should encounter a potential collision situation and the other boat fails to recognize your right of way, do not press for your privileges. Play it safe and move out of the other boater’s path!

The rules of the road also include other areas of safe boating operation, particularly running lights, which become signals at night, as well as a full set of sound signals. Lighting equipment varies according to the size of the vessel, whether it is power or sail, and the particular waters being navigated.

To gain a thorough knowledge of these lights and signals, detailed diagrams and explanations, you too should do as these eleven safe boaters have done and attend a “Boating Skills and Seamanship” program offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The next course begins on April 7, 2014 in Homosassa, FL. For information about that course as well as others please feel free to contact Ned Barry via email at, nedbarry115@gmail.com or call him at 352-249-1042. A nominal fee is charged to cover the cost of materials, which you may keep.

Remember, safe boating is no accident!

Article By: Wilbur B. Scott

Ray Koeppel Receives Auxiliary Award

Ray Koeppel of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary recently received the prestigious “Auxiliary Commandants Letter of Commendation” award. This award recognizes members for special contributions and efforts expended by them on within their area of responsibility in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Award for Ray Koeppel
Pictured in the photo are from left to right, Flotilla 15-4 Operations Commander, Ray Koeppel after receiving his award(s) from Flotilla Commander David “Rusty” Hays. Photo by Wilbur B. Scott

In addition to this special award, Operations Commander Koeppel was also presented with a “Sustained Service” award. This award is presented to members who have contributed a minimum of 750 hours of documented volunteer service to the Coast Guard Auxiliary. It is interesting to note that this is the eighth such award he has received!

Flotilla 15-4 is very active assisting the US Coast Guard with promoting homeland security, providing safe boating programs for the boasting public conducting free vessel safety checks, safety patrols on the rivers and coastal waters, search/rescue operations and air patrols along with many other activities.

Flotilla 15-4 is always looking for dedicated individuals who have an interest in these endeavors. Anyone interested in joining Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 is encouraged to contact Ned Barry via email at, nedbarry115@gmail.com or call him at 352-249-1042.

Written By: Wilbur B. Scott

Ned Barry Receives Auxiliary Award

Former Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Commander Ned Barry of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary recently received the prestigious “Auxiliary Commandants Letter of Commendation” award. This award recognizes members for special contributions and efforts expended by them on behalf of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Commander Barry was recognized for his years of service as Flotilla Commander as well as numerous other endeavors on behalf of Flotilla 15-4, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Ned Barry Getting Award
Pictured left to right is U.S. Coast Guard Chief, Paul Chandler from USCG Station Yankeetown presenting the prestigious “Auxiliary Commandant’s Letter of Commendation” award to former Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Commander, Ned Barry. Photo by Wilbur B. Scott

Flotilla 15-4 is very active in assisting the US Coast Guard with promoting homeland security and safe boating on area waters by providing safety patrols on the rivers and coastal waters, conducting search/rescue operations, security air patrols, vessel examinations, presenting public education programs, providing communications operators as well as numerous other activities.

Flotilla 15-4 is a very active flotilla and is always looking for dedicated individuals who wish to be of service to their country and to their community. If you are one of those individuals then you are encouraged to contact Ned Barry at 352-249-1042, or via email at nedbarry115@gmail.com. Ned would be most happy to answer your questions and provide you with membership information.

Written By: Wilbur B. Scott

George and Patricia Dooris Receive Auxiliary Awards

Patricia and George Dooris of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary recently received the prestigious “Operations Performance Award”. This award recognizes members for efforts expended by them in support of the U.S. Coast Guard. This couple continues to contribute numerous documented volunteer hours of service conducting surface patrols on the Homosassa River and Gulf of Mexico.

Dr. George and Patricia Dooris Receiving Auxiliary Award
Pictured left to right after receiving their award certificate from Flotilla 15-4 Commander, David “Rusty” Hays are George Dooris, Patricia Dooris and Commander Hays. Photo by Wilbur B. Scott.

In addition to receiving this award, it is interesting to note that both Patricia and George were recently recognized for the many volunteer hours they spend at USCG Station Yankeetown as Communication Watch Standers. On the average, each of these members contribute almost sixty hours per month in this endeavor alone.

Flotilla 15-4 and their members are very active assisting the US Coast Guard by providing safe boating programs for the boasting public conducting free vessel safety checks, conducting safety patrols on the rivers and coastal waters, search and rescue operations as well as air patrols and many other activities.

Flotilla 15-4 is always looking for dedicated individuals who have an interest in these endeavors. Anyone interested in joining Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 is encouraged to contact Ned Barry via email at, nedbarry115@gmail.com or call him at 352-249-1042.

Written By: Wilbur B. Scott

Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Member James Kelly Retires

Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Commander Rusty Hays announced the recent retirement of Flotilla member James Kelly after twenty years of service to Flotilla 15-4, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and to the United States Coast Guard. “Jim” was active in multiple areas of responsibility during his many years of service. His favorite without a doubt was in the area of Public Education and Boating Safety. Jim was the Flotilla Staff Officer in charge of “Public Education” programs for many years. He was instrumental in putting together numerous educational programs for the public regarding boating safety not only for adults but for young boaters as well. The courses he taught, along with other Flotilla 15-4 instructors, were not always conducted in a classroom. Jim, along with his immediate successor Elaine Miranda, and other volunteers, would work with young students in the field. There they would apply hands on teaching methods allowing the students to learn how to handle dangerous situations if confronted by them on the water. They learned how to correctly use fire extinguishers, communications equipment, nautical chart reading and marker identification plus lots more! The course of instruction was conducted twice per week and lasted for six weeks. Each class usually consisted of about thirty students. At the end of the six weeks the students were transported to the U.S. Coast Guard station in Yankeetown where they were administered a final written examination. The students were then given a tour of the Coast Guard facility as well as the USCG boats that are assigned to Station Yankeetown.

Retirement Ceremony 

Left to Right: Division 15 Commander, Paul Pelletier, USCG Yankeetown Chief, Paul Chandler, Honoree Jim Kelly, and Assistant Division Commander, Diane Berman (Photo by Cathy Maurer).

On December 3, 2013, Jim Kelly was presented with his Retirement Credentials by Chief Petty Officer Paul Chandler, Officer in charge of USCG Station Yankeetown. Both Flotilla 15-4 Commander Rusty Hays and Past Flotilla Commander Ned Barry agreed that Jim will truly be missed. But you know what? I am not so sure we have seen the last of Jim Kelly. After the “Retirement” ceremony was over, this writer overheard another member asking Jim if he might be available to help with a new flotilla project that he is working on, to which Jim immediately replied, “sure!” Enjoy your retirement Jim!

USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 15-4 Couple Honored for Their Service

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary members, Patricia and George Dooris of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 were recently honored for their many years of dedicated service to both Flotilla 15-4 and to U.S. Coast Guard Station Yankeetown.

George and Patricia Dooris
Patricia and George Dooris honored for their many years of continuing service to Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and to the United States Coast Guard at “Station Yankeetown”. (Photo by Wilbur B. Scott)

During their fifteen years of service each has served as a past Flotilla Commander of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4. They continue to serve flotilla 15-4 as Coxswains on board Flotilla 15-4 patrol vessels. In addition, both “Tricia” and George continue to give freely of their time as instructors, teaching numerous safe boating courses for the boating public as well as preparing and providing in-service training programs for Flotilla 15-4 personnel.

On the weekends that they are not on the water participating in patrol or search and rescue missions you will find them volunteering their time as Communications Specialists at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Yankeetown, FL operating the radios at that facility. They have been doing this for the past thirteen years and both told this writer that they enjoy working with these dedicated men and women of the Coast Guard. Both admitted that they sometimes serve in the capacity of advisers and surrogate grandparents to some of the younger service men and women who are there serving their country.

George and Patricia Dooris on Patrol
Patricia and George Dooris returning from a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary safety and security patrol on the Gulf of Mexico and Homosassa River. (Photo by Anna Hughes).

Being a part of the “ Coast Guard Family” is taken literally by Tricia and George as their Son, Mathew, (also a long time member of Flotilla 15-4), has been serving on active duty with the United States Coast Guard for the past 13 years. With the rank of Lieutenant Commander, (LCDR), Matt is currently stationed in San Pedro, California serving as the Safety and Environmental Health Officer for U.S. Coast Guard District 11 (South).

When Tricia and George were asked what being a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary has meant to them, both agreed that although it has been time consuming, it has been educational as well. They summed up their feelings about their service by saying that ,“It has indeed been a very enjoyable experience and they would not have missed it for the world!”

Flotilla 15-4 Commander, Rusty Hays said, “We are fortunate indeed to have Tricia and George as members of our flotilla and we thank them for their many years of service not only to Flotilla 15-4, but to the U.S. Coast Guard and to their Country as well. We look forward to their continued service for many years to come.

Article By: Wilbur B. Scott  

Change of Watch Ceremony

On December 3, 2013, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary conducted a “Change of Watch” ceremony. David “Rusty” Hays was sworn in as the new Flotilla Commander, replacing outgoing Flotilla Commander Ned Barry. Administering the Oath of Office was Division 15 Commander, Paul Pelletier.

Swearing In

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary District 15 Commander, Paul Pelletier congratulates David “Rusty” Hays after swearing him in as the new Flotilla Commander of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4. (Photo by Wilbur B. Scott).

Following the official swearing in ceremony Commander Hays outlined his goals for the coming year for Flotilla 15-4. Stressing his priorities include more time on the water by flotilla patrol vessels as well as more time in the air by flotilla aircraft conducting safety and environmental patrols. In addition he announced his plans for an energetic public education program for the boating public as well as increased monthly training for flotilla personnel. Bringing in new members to Flotilla 15-4 also ranks high among his priorities.

Assisting Commander Hays in reaching these goals will be newly elected Flotilla Vice Commander Robert Currie as well as various appointed flotilla staff officers. Some seventy members, special guests and spouses attended the Change of Watch ceremony. Following the program, and a brief business meeting, those in attendance enjoyed a delicious potluck style dinner.

Pot Luck 

USCG and USCG Auxiliary Officials enjoying the pot luck style dinner following the swearing in ceremonies of David “Rusty” Hays as the new Commander of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 are, (seated left to right), USCG Chief, Paul Chandler from USCG Station Yankeetown, incoming Flotilla 15-4 Commander, David “Rusty” Hays, Division 15 Commander, Paul Pelletier, outgoing Flotilla 15-4 Commander, Ned Barry and seated across from the table is retiring Flotilla 15-4 member Jim Kelly. (Photo by Cathy Mauer).

Article By: Wilbur B. Scott

We Want You!

The holidays have now passed and all of the excitement and rushing around is over. I know that a little calm is always welcomed as we begin a brand new year. But then that feeling of calm may soon pass and boredom begins to set in. Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of your U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary has something to cure anyone’s boredom while at the same time allowing you to be of service to your community and your country. Whether you are a permanent resident of our area or a seasonal visitor I can assure you that no matter what your area of interest may be, you will find it as a member of Homosassa Flotilla 15-4! Young person and senior citizen alike work together in serving the boating public.

For those of you who love boats, (you don’t have to own a boat to be a member) and being on the water, we have a place for you as a member of one of our boat crews, participating in surface patrols, exciting search and rescue operations as well as interesting training missions with the USCG. Perhaps your interest is in the environment. Then how about becoming involved with us as we patrol for oil spills and other hazardous material and dangers to our waterways? Perhaps you would rather qualify as one of our “Vessel Examiners”, providing a very important service to both recreational boaters and some commercial vessels as well.

Download the rest of the article here!

Mike Morin Receiving 5-Year Member Award

On September 3, 2013 Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 member Mike Morin was awarded a certificate for completing five years as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. In addition to the certificate he was presented with the five year membership service ribbon.  Making the presentation is Flotilla 15-4 Commander Ned Barry.

Mike Morin receiving award 

Photo info: Left to right is Flotilla 15-4 Commander Ned Barry and member Mike Morin.
Photo by: Rusty Hays.

Group Awards

On September 3, 2013 Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Commander Ned Barry, (Center), had the privilege of presenting four flotilla members with various awards. 

Group Awards 

Photo by Rusty Hays. 

New members Herb and Lou Zimmerman, each received an award for the successful completion of the "Team Coordination Training"  (TCT), program. This course teaches the new member all about the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and how it was created by an Act of Congress in 1939 strictly as a volunteer service to aid the boating public and to be a support arm of the U.S. Coast Guard. The course familiarizes the new member with the organizational structure of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and how the various specialty units come together as a team to carryout it's goals and responsibilities as it relates to the boating public and support of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Dolores Brand received her certification as a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary "Marine Dealer Visitor" officer. Among her many new duties she will be visiting area marine dealers and commercial establishments who sell equipment designed for use on vessels that ply our many area waterways. She stocks and restocks each establishment with free brochures, pamphlets and other handout materials promoting boating safety as well as other valuable information including how to obtain membership in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Joseph Frack received a "Sustained Service Award". This award is presented to a member  who has contributed 750 documented volunteer hours of service to the USCG Auxiliary.

If you are interested in becoming a member of this proud organization please feel free to contact Robert Currie via email at rgcurrie@bellsouth  or Wilbur Scott at seacapt34448@yahoo.com or by phone at 352-628-0639.

New Members Sworn Into Flotilla

New members sworn into the Flotilla 

Pictured is Flotilla 15-4 Commander Ned Barry swearing in new members Herb and Lou Zimmerman.  Left to right in photo is Herb Zimmerman, Commander Ned Barry and Lou Zimmerman.  Photo by Rusty Hays.

On September 3, 2013 Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Commander, Ned Barry had the honor of swearing in Lou and Herb Zimmerman  as new members of Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. As a part of their processing into the USCG Auxiliary both Lou and Herb successfully completed the required "Team Coordination Training" program, (TCT). They will now be given the opportunity to choose what activities they wish to become active in and receive additional specialized training. They have the opportunity to become involved in any one or more numerous activities such as surface patrol crew or air crew, vessel examiners, public education instructors, communications specialists, marine program visitor or any number of other important services provided by the USCG Auxiliary to the boating public and in support of the U.S. Coast Guard. For membership information please feel free to contact Mr. Robert Currie via email at rgcurrie@bellsouth.net or Wilbur B. Scott at 352-628-0639 or via email at seacapt34448@yahoo.com.
 

Bob Currie Certified as Program Visitor

On August 6, 2013, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4, USCG Auxiliary member, Bob Currie was certified as a "Program Visitor." Members of this unit are a part of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary's recreational boating outreach program promoting boating safety on U.S. waterways by improving the knowledge, skills and abilities of recreational boaters. Members of the unit visit with area marinas, boating dealerships and stores that offer among their merchandise boating equipment and other water activity related items. At each establishment they replenish supplies of brochures covering a variety of safe boating information and tips as well as Flotilla membership information. All of these documents are available to the public at no charge.

Bob Currie Certified as Program Visitor 

Flotilla 15-4 member Bob Currie also received a certificate of recertification as a boat crew member on board any U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary patrol vessel. Pictured left to right after the presentation of the certifications are Flotilla 15-4 Commander, Ned Barry, Flotilla member Bob Currie and Flotilla 15-4 Vice Commander, Rusty Hays.  Photo by Wilbur B. Scott.

U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary Reminds All, Water Safety Must NOT Be Ignored!

If you drive anywhere within Citrus County you cannot help but notice the large number of boats of all shapes and sizes being towed to our area’s beautiful waterways. Whether it be to one of our local rivers or lakes or to the Gulf of Mexico, it is obvious that so many of us are drawn to the water. Not everyone needs a boat to enjoy the water. Hundreds of people flock to the shorelines of our area’s waters for water sports, fishing and swimming. Some just want to relax and enjoy their private swimming pool or perhaps a public pool. People just want to be on, in or near the water. It just makes us feel good!

Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of your U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is relentless in it’s efforts to keep people safe on and near the water. How do they do that you might ask? Some of the ways they accomplish this is by providing safety patrols both on the water and in the air as well as in the classroom offering safe boating courses to the boating public. They also provide totally free courtesy vessel safety inspections of your vessel at boat ramps and even at your home or mooring if that is what it takes to make sure your boat is safe for you and your family. If you have been on our local rivers or the Gulf waters you have probably observed USCG Auxiliary vessels patrolling these waterways. These dedicated men and women who make up our boat and aircraft crews are searching for boaters in distress, hazards to navigation that might endanger unsuspecting boaters and are always on the alert for environmental and security issues that may be a threat to our area.

Flotilla 15-4 patrol craft about to get underway on a patrol mission  

Flotilla 15-4 patrol craft about to get underway on a patrol mission on the Homosassa River and Gulf of Mexico. Pictured from left to right are crew members, Rusty Hays, (who is the boat owner), Robert Currie and Coxswain, Ray Koeppel.
 

Patrols are also on the watch for those inconsiderate boaters who through the reckless operation of their vessel, endanger not only themselves and their passengers but every other boater as well. Drinking while operating a boat can kill! It can also earn you heavy jail time and fines! USCG Auxiliary personnel do not have enforcement authority themselves, but they do have direct communications with the Coast Guard and other marine enforcement officers and will direct them to the violator. On occasion the USCG Auxiliary boats have regular Coast Guard personnel on board and in those cases arrests can and are made on the spot. Another thing they watch for is the boater who because of a lack of proper boat handling knowledge or of legal requirements creates a dangerous situation. One situation often encountered is the skipper who allows young children to be on board without the proper size flotation device, (life jacket), or none at all. Children seven years of age and younger must be wearing a proper size and type flotation device when on board or even close to the waters edge. It’s the law! Another dangerous situation often encountered by our patrols is one where parents allow children to ride on the bow, (front), of the boat with their legs dangling over the side. If they should fall into the water from any number of causes, the boat’s hull and propeller(s) will pass over them resulting in a terrible tragedy! Overloading the boat is another common occurrence. Check the “Capacity Plate” located on your boat and know how many passengers and the total weight your boat can safely handle. Weight differences and distribution will effect the boat’s stability and operation.

Flotilla 15-4 aircraft who's crew is engaged in the pre-flight inspection 

Flotilla 15-4 aircraft who's crew is engaged in the pre-flight inspection of the aircraft prior to taking off on a patrol mission over the Gulf of Mexico. Pictured from left to right are crew members, Shon Limor, Guenther Norders and Pilot in Command, Ron O'Connell, (Aircraft owner).
 

Water safety is not all about boats and boating! Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 feels very strongly about water safety around small bodies of water as well. Especially as it relates to children! Strongly enough that our “Public Education Instructors” include water safety among the numerous USCG Auxiliary courses that they offer to the boating public and others. They have gone into the classrooms of local elementary schools teaching more than 400 young children, about water safety. Since 2004, Flotilla 15-4 Instructors have taught hundreds of young students from the Gulf Coast Academy of Science & Technology from Hernando County all about boating and water safety. The course, which was developed by Flotilla 15-4 Instructors, Elaine Miranda and James Kelly, have provided the students with both classroom and hands on training. Each class of 22-24 students consisting mostly of seventh graders have traveled by bus to Citrus County one day per week for eight weeks to receive this valuable training. The final exam which is administered at the USCG Station in Yankeetown allows students who obtained a passing grade to receive a “Florida Boating Safety ID Card”. An average of ten flotilla Instructors participate in each program. So as you can see, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 is indeed concerned about boating safety and our youth. As a matter of fact, membership in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is now open to anyone seventeen years of age or older!

Graduating class from the "Gulf Coast Academy" and instructors 

This photo is of a graduating class from the "Gulf Coast Academy" and instructors who participated in a six week safe boating course organized by Elaine Miranda and Jim Kelly who were assisted by other instructors from Flotilla 15-4. The photo was taken at USCG Station Yankeetown.
 

Earlier I mentioned swimming pools. I could go on for hours talking about the tragedies that occur in and around the family swimming pool. I also mentioned at the beginning of this article that many of us are drawn to water. Well, so too are small children attracted to water. Home swimming pools need to be ….. no, they must be inaccessible to toddlers and other small children. Fences with locked gates, secure type designed pool covers, alarm systems, video camera systems need to be considered. Too expensive you might say, and after all, it is just Grandma and Grandpa who live here and the grandkids only visit a few days or maybe a couple of weeks each year. I am sure that you will agree, there can be absolutely nothing worse than the loss of a child! According to the “U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,” in some of the nations sunbelt, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in the homes of children under 5 years of age! Common sense must be utilized! The entire swimming pool area should be kept clean and clear so that no one will trip and be injured. No running is allowed in the pool area and no diving where the water depth is insufficient to allow such activity. Pool “Rules” should be posted and enforced! Children must not be left unsupervised. An adult should be present and alert at poolside when children are using the pool. When pool activities are completed for the day, be sure there are no toys left floating in the pool or stored around the pool that may attract a small child. Leave the pool area clean and most importantly SECURE!

On this website, you will find numerous articles and information about safe boating along with some helpful boating tips (“Scotty’s Boating Tips”). You will also find many other helpful topics related to boating and boating safety, as well as interesting information about the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and Homosassa Flotilla 15-4. If you are bored, looking for some excitement, and/or would like to be of service to your country, why not join us? There is something of interest for everyone in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Created in 1939 by an Act of Congress, we are known by many as “America’s Volunteer Life Savers“.

Wilbur B. Scott may be contacted via email at seacapt34447@yahoo.com.

Flotilla Awards

Dolores Brand

On July 2, 2013, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 member, Dolores Brand, was presented with the prestigious "Operational Auxiliarist Program", (AUXOP) award. Recipients of this award must successfully complete an advanced training program that increases their practical relevance to Coast Guard missions and better prepare them to be of assistance to the U.S. Coast Guard as well as to the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Making the presentation is Flotilla 15-4 Commander, Ned Barry.

Rusty Hays 

On July 2, 2013, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Vice Flotilla Commander, Rusty Hays, was presented his second "Sustained Service Award". This award is presented to an Auxiliary member contributing a documented total of 750 volunteer hours of service to the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Making the presentation is Flotilla 15-4 Commander, Ned Barry.

Don Albanese 

On July 2, 2013, Flotilla 15-4 member, Don Albanese was presented two awards. The first award is the "Auxiliary Operations Performance Award" and the second award is the "Auxiliary Membership Service Award" for ten years of service with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Presenting the award is Flotilla 15-4 Commander, Ned Barry.

Ray Koeppel 

On July 2, 2013, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 member Ray Koeppel became certified as a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Examiner. Ray currently serves as Flotilla Staff Officer of Operations. Presenting the "Certificate of Certification", is Flotilla 15-4 Commander, Ned Barry.

Ron O'Connell 

On July 2, 2013, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 Flotilla Air Operations Staff Officer, Ron O'Connell was presented with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, "Sustained Service Award". This award is presented to a member who has contributed a total of 750 documented volunteer hours of service. While presenting the award Flotilla Commander, Ned Barry, was proud to announce that this was the fourth time that Staff Officer O'Connell has been presented with this prestigious award.

Anna McQuade 

On July 2, 2013, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 member, Anna McQuade was presented the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary "Sustained Service Award". This award is presented to a member who has contributed 750 volunteer hours of service. Making the presentation is Flotilla 15-4 Commander Ned Barry. 

Mel Tillis Fishing Tournament Auxiliary Booth

Auxiliary Booth 

Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 members, Georgia Young and Wilbur Scott provide boating safety information at the Mel Tillis Fishing Tournament in Homosassa on Saturday April 13, 2013. Their booth was the scene of numerous visitors taking advantage of the many pieces of safe boating literature and other valuable information pertaining to our local waters, as well as information regarding membership in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Syllabus for Upcoming Boating Skills and Seamanship Public Education Boating Safety Class

Please click here to access the syllabus for the upcoming Boating Skills and Seamanship Public Education Boating Safety Class.

 

Boating Safety Class - January 2013

Class in Session 

Elaine Miranda instructing during our recent About Boating Safely Class.

Graduating Class 

Graduation photo with Flotilla members Bob Currie (left rear), Rusty Hays (right rear), and Flotilla Service Dog Gema.

Boating Skills and Seamanship Class of November 1, 2012

Graduating Class 

Graduates are:

Back row left to right – Taylor Morgan, Bill Lofley, Bill Blackwell, Mike Busler, Richard Sayers

Front row left to right – Chip Swett, Ron Hovet, Sue Blackwell, Angela Busler, Helen Holman

Flotilla Work Day

Members of Flotilla 15-04 completing repairs and upgrades to our Green Acres Building. 

Bill Maurer working on roof

Bill Maurer replacing roof fascia.  Photograph taken by George Brand.

 

Charlie Law replacing roof fascia.  Photograph taken by George Brand.

USCG Auxiliary Boating Safety Class

Boating Safety Program Offered

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Homosassa Flotilla 15-4, will conduct an eight session boating safety program, starting October 8, 2012. This program, entitled BOATING SKILLS AND SEAMANSHIP, is the most comprehensive of the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s public boating education programs. It meets for 8 sessions and covers the subjects of boat design, equipment, trailering, boat handling and anchoring, aids to navigation, C.G. navigation rules, inland boating, and handling boating emergencies. This program is for the boater who wants a more complete discussion of what may be encountered on the water and how to operate a vessel more safely.

Boating Skills and Seamanship also forms the basis for the instruction of officer trainees at the Coast Guard Academy during the summer, prior to attending the Officer Candidate school.

At the completion of this program, participants passing the final exam will be eligible to receive the Florida boater ID card. Total cost is $30 for materials.

This program is presented on Mondays and Thursdays, starting October 8 through November 1st, 2012, from 7 to 9 pm, that is 8 nights, .at the West Citrus Community Center, 8940 Veterans Drive, Homosassa. For additional information and registration details, call Ned Barry at 352-249-1042, or email nedbarry@tampabay.rr.com.

The Auxiliary is very active in assisting the US Coast Guard with promoting homeland security, public instruction of safe boating, vessel safety exams, safety patrols on the rivers and coastal waters, search/rescue and law enforcement air patrols and many other activities. Flotilla 15-4 is always looking for dedicated persons with interest in the above endeavors. We welcome and recognize your past experience, skills and talents. If anyone is interested in joining this special group of volunteers, call Bob Currie at 352-232-1516 or email at rgcurrie@bellsouth.net.

Submitted by Pim Miranda, Flotilla Staff Officer-Public Affairs,

USCG Auxiliary Homosassa Flotilla 15-4

352-564-2521

Memorial Day at Douglas Munro Memorial in Crystal River

 

Members from Crystal River, Yankeetown, Chiefland, and Homosassa flotillas attended the Douglas Munro Memorial in Crystal River, FL.  Two Citrus County Public Service Officers, also AUX members, were in attendance (green uniforms).  The service was led by Chuck Morton, SO-OP, Division 15.

 
 
 
 

National Safe Boating Week

Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary kicked off National Safe Boating Week on Saturday May 19, 2012 with an energetic agenda. No this group was not on the water but instead they occupied an area of the new Walmart parking lot in Homosassa. What is a Coast Guard Auxiliary unit doing in a parking lot you ask instead of being on the water? Not to worry, there were other members on the water, but this group was busy showing Walmart shoppers the difference between the various types of "Personal Floating Devices", (PFDs) that are available to the boating public and demonstrating the proper use of each.

In addition they were also answering questions from members of the public, many of whom were boaters, but certainly not all of course. Some were just curious about what the Coast Guard Auxiliary was all about. Being members of Flotilla 15-4, one of the most active flotillas in the area, conducting both surface and air patrols as well as public education programs and numerous other activities, they were only too happy to answer the many questions put to them, including how to become a member!. Safe boating pamplets and other informational materials were also provided for the public, including young children. The USCG Auxiliary feels strongly that it is very important for children to learn the rules of safety on and  near the water, including swimming pools.

At the rear of the parking lot a Flotilla 15-4 Vessel Examinor was conducting free courtesy Vessel Safety Examinations. Not all boaters had their boats with them while shopping of course but appointments were made for those people to have a courtesy vessel examinations conducted at another time at their home or at the location where their boat is moored or stored.

Homosassa Flotilla 15-4 members wish everyone a safe and a happy time on our area's beautiful waterways.

By Wilbur B. Scott, Asst. Public Affairs Officer, Flotilla 15-4, Homosassa, FL


Back row left to right: Alan McNamara, George Brand, Bill Schultz, Georgia Young, Ray Koppel

Front row left to right: Charles Law, Elaine Miranda, Ann Hughes

Coast Guard Urges Boaters to Get Free Vessel Safety Checks

Coast Guard urges boaters to take advantage of free safety checks:

https://www.piersystem.com/go/doc/443/1342327/