Local Coast Guard Auxiliary Presents Information

at the St. Ignace Home Show


The St. Ignace Home Show was held on Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8 at Little Bear East Arena. There were a total of 54 vendors in attendance including nonprofit groups, such St. Ignace Masonic Lodge, Mackinac County Sheriff’s Office Victims Services Unit, Cloverland Electric Cooperative, the St. Ignace Planning Commission and, of course, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. According to the local paper, the St. Ignace News, 2,800 people attended.

Carlos Bermudez (left) and Larry Ferguson of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary were on hand at the Home Show to provide information to visitors about water safety as boating season approaches.

Several people who visited the booth expressed interest in joining the Auxiliary. One had moved up here from down-state and previously operated a boat rental. Another was a reporter from the local paper who asked what was involved in joining the local auxiliary unit, what activities we engaged in, etc. It was explained that we were able to assist the local Coast Guard unit in any way other than law enforcement. Chief Babione of the St. Ignace Coast Guard Station stopped by with his two sons.

We also had several inquiries about vessel exams. In case you are not aware, a vessel exam indicates that a boat is in full compliance with all Federal and State boating laws during a safety check for that year. In many cases boating insurance agencies offer discounts for vessels which undergo a Vessel Safety Check every year.

We passed out quite a lot of literature on paddle crafts and life vests, particularly emphasizing the importance of wearing an appropriate PFD (personal flotation device). In addition, about 80 Coast Guard coloring books, including "Bobber the Water Safety Dog," "Sammy the Sea Otter," and "Learn About the United States Coast Guard," were handed out to children who visited the booth.

We played the video "Cold Water Boot Camp" on a continuous loop. This video explains how to better survive an accidental fall into cold water, and avoid cold shock, cold incapacitation, and hypothermia. In cold water under 59 degrees, the risk of drowning increases by 500% and many of those drownings occur within six feet of safety. Please see/contact Larry Ferguson ( if you have not yet seen this video.

 2016 St. Ignace Car Show

 The 41st annual St. Ignace Car Show was held on Saturday, June 25. According to the St. Ignace News, there were 685 entered vehicles in addition to many un-entered classic and modified cars. Thousands of spectators came to town as vehicles lined downtown State Street, all the way from Marquette Street south to Burdette Street.

Doc Borth helped L. Ferguson to set up the tent on June 23. Our booth was set up next to the Fisherman's Memorial on State Street, near the marina. On Saturday, I was assisted by C. Bermudez and T. Politte, and on the gold side by Petty Officer 1st Class Keuten, BM2 R. Etelmaki, and Seaman Apprentice Sokolowski. In addition, we were visited by former member Robert Belonga and his grandson Chase. Chase helped stuff bags with literature, while his grandfather helped pass out bags to the crowd.


The St. Ignace Auxiliary, working with Coast Guard Station St. Ignace personnel, held a boat school on Friday, June 10, and Saturday, June 11. The trainings were designed to teach boat towing, search patterns, anchoring, and man-overboard rescue skills. In addition, a helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City was present to practice rescue missions. There were three Canadian participants who brought the Argonaut (their boat). They shared some great stories at our dinners on Friday at the VFW Fish Fry and on Saturday at Mackinac Grille.

High winds made the water pretty rough on Friday. Saturday morning started out with fog, cleared up, and then got foggy again. Participants were launching from different sites but it was so foggy that they couldn't find each other out in the bay. The Coast Guard had everyone go back to the Marina to regroup, and then go out together. The station's van broke down, so VFC Ferguson provided taxi service between the different sites. Thank you to Don Warren for organizing the boat school, with assistance from VFC Ferguson who arranged evening meals and the first morning's breakfast. Also, thanks to "Edge" from the Cheboygan flotilla who did three vessel exams at the marina.

Thanks to Doc Borth and Larry Ferguson for providing the pictures:

See below for a great video on the St. Ignace Boat School.


Coast Guard Station St. Ignace’s had a Change of Watch ceremony on Friday morning, June 3. Senior Chief Boatswain Mate Michael Beatty received the Coast Guard Commendation Medal at the ceremony, and was promoted from Senior Chief to Master Chief immediately after receiving the award. During the ceremony, BMCM Beatty’s wife, Melissa, and daughters, Madison and Abigail, presented him with a new coat and hat befitting his new rank

Michael Beatty relinquished command of Station St. Ignace to Senior Chief Boatswain Mate Andrew Babione, and was reassigned to Station Saginaw River. While in command of Station St. Ignace from July 2012 through June 2016, the station conducted 125 search and rescue missions and saved 13 lives. The purpose of the station is to “save lives, enforce treaties, and keep Lake Huron and Lake Michigan safe from environmental harm.”

Senior Chief Babione, who is originally from Idaho, enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1996. He was previously Executive Petty Officer at Station Freeport in Texas. He intends to get involved in the local community here in St. Ignace. He and his wife, Betsy, have two children, Rebecca and Andrew.

To see pictures of the Change of Command, please see:



The home show was held on Friday, April 8 from 4-8 p.m. and Saturday, April 9 from 9-5 p.m., at Little Bear East Arena. 2,200 people attended the home show this year; the previous record for attendance was set in 2015 when 1,300 people attended.

Larry Ferguson set up the 8 x 10 booth on Thursday afternoon. The booth was provided by the home show; the table covering was provided by the Fergusons. On Friday evening, Larry was assisted by gold side Senior Chief Beatty and Petty Officer First Class Keuten. On Saturday, he was assisted by auxiliary personnel Doc Borth, Gus Paz, Carlos Bermudez, and Mark Eldridge.

In total, they handed out 75 packages of coloring books and crayons to children, and pamphlets/brochures to adults. We found the greatest interest was related to canoes and kayaks. We talked to quite a few people; Senior Chief Beatty thought he was getting away from work but was kept busy the entire time answering questions. We answered questions on vessel exams, such as what was required and when we would do them. Several retired Coast Guard people stopped by to talk. A gentleman who recently moved to the local area from Wisconsin is considering transferring to our flotilla.

Thanks to Doc Borth for providing the pictures (see link above).


Coast Guard Station St. Ignace hosted its annual open house on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The open house ties in with National Safe Boating Week (May 21-27) across the United States and Canada; it is the ceremonial kickoff to this year’s recreational boating season. 74 people attended, shattering the previous five-year high of 44 people. Panda Bear went to the Family Fare parking lot with a sign and his antics guided people down our way. Also it was a great day for an open house, a nice sunny day in the 70s.

The event allowed visitors to tour the station and learn about its crew, their missions, and the equipment they use to accomplish them. Both of its vessels, the 25-foot Response Boat Small and the 45-foot Response Boat Medium, were on view, as was the 31-foot Mackinac Marine Rescue boat. Unfortunately, while the Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay was there, the public was unable to board due to construction.

The St. Ignace Auxiliary was on hand to discuss water and boating safety, and to perform free vessel safety checks. Members of the Cheboygan and Roscommon flotillas were there as well (there may have been other flotillas represented also). Larry Ferguson set up the same display that was used at the home show, and talked to people as they came through. Tom Politte and Larry Ferguson alternated at the gate with a gold side person greeting the public and handing out information. Mark Eldridge performed two VE's at St. Ignace marina, and additional VE's were done by auxiliarists from other flotillas.

Coastie the Safety Boat was present (he's a cute little tugboat operated by remote control). Coastie had coloring books, flyers and stickers to hand out to the children. Master Chief was all over the station, deputizing everyone with Junior Ranger Safety Patrol badges. The Paz's handed out literature and talked to various people about joining the Auxiliary. At least one person has expressed interest.

Thanks to Doc Borth for providing the photos (see link above).