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Flotilla 11-9 news and events

Suddenly in Command class

The flotilla presented a new class called Suddenly in Command in February 2024 at Coast Guard Station Menemsha. This 4 hour boating safety primer is designed for those not generally at the helm, and helps to be prepared with the basics in case of an emergency. It’s a “wake-up call” for your responsibilities. You learn about your vessel, and operating principles. Also included are descriptions of boating mishaps, how to minimize them. The participants enjoyed practicing making May Day calls and talking about other emergencies. Plans are to present more of these safety classes.

Suddenly in command class picture 

Suddenly in command class picture Suddenly in command class picture



Martha's Vineyard Fair 2023

Every year, one of the summer highlights is the annual Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Fair, a 4-day old-fashioned Country Fair held on the fairgrounds of Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard. There are rides, games, shucking contests, skillet toss, horse pull, woodsmen competition, dog & livestock show.  AND, this year The Martha’s Vineyard Coast Guard Auxiliary along with members of USCG Station Menemsha set up a tent and
enjoyed knot tying and looking over some of the Coast Guard’s many life saving items.  The Auxiliary also distributed
safe boating material


Crew at MV Fair 2023
           MV Fair 2023 kidsKids at fair

                                         MV Fair poster


New member of the year for 2022

Our Flotilla Commander, Mike Salvatore presents the "New Member of the Year" award to Teresa Temple. Congratulations Tess!

FC awarding new member of the year award to Teresa Temple 


Boat America Class

Did you know that in 2020 over 77% of boating deaths were on vessels where the operator did NOT receive boating safety instruction? The Martha’s Vineyard Coast Guard Auxiliary finally held its first boating safety class in two years in March 2022. Cancelled twice due to Covid, we finally managed to hold the class for the first 16 people to apply. The response was phenomenal and we have a waiting list of over 40. Covering such subjects as Rules of the Road, Legal requirements of boating, Aids to Navigation, and reacting to emergencies on the water, the class spent all day learning and reviewing the subjects that will help keep them safe on the water. More classes to come

David teaching BA chapter Tim teaching BA chapter

 Joe teaching BA chapter Mike teaching BA chapter




Oak Bluffs Harborfest

Flotilla members handing out safe boating material at harborfest

July, 2019: Oak Bluffs Harborfest: The flotilla worked with Station Menemsha and Station Woods Hole to bring Coast Guard vessels to the Harborfest.We helped with boat tours and distributed safe boating material to participants. Harborfest is a yearly event that attracts thousands in Oak Bluffs.

CG boat tour at harborfest 


Breakfast at Station Menemsha

Mike Salvatore, food service specialist serving breakfast at Station Menemsha

Our Auxiliary Food service specialist, Mike Salvatore serves up breakfast for the crew at Station Menemsha.   The Auxiliary provides services to the local Coast Guard in the form of Food Service, Radio Watchstanding and crew training.


Boating Safety Class - 2019

Instructors teach ABS class

The primary mission of the Coast Guard Auxiliary is Recreational Boating Safety. This mission includes providing public boating safety classes.  Early this year, our flotilla held sold out one day classes at Coast Guard Station in Menemsha.  Here Chris Scott and David Pothier discuss preventing fires on board.  Other subjects include a wide variety of information: General information about boats and maintenance; information on preparing for safe and enjoyable outings; Navigation rules and aids to navigation; Guidelines for operating your boat or Personal Watercraft (PWC); What to do in case of boating emergencies; Massachusetts-specific laws and regulations you must follow.





Station Menemsha Advancement Ceremony

 Newly promoted Petty Officers with BMCS Longval and BMC Parent

 Bottom, left to right: Chief Robert Parent, Petty Officer 2nd Class Leanna McKenna, Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Belladue, Senior Chief Justin Longval. Top: Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Von Dessonneck, Petty Officer 2nd Class Joel Behr, Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Smith. — Rich Saltzberg

 Iacono helps pin BM2 Behr

Auxiliarist Wayne iacono helps to pin the new BM2 chevron on Joel Behr at the advancement ceremony             (Photo courtesy of Rich Salzberg)

September 2018: Senior Chief Justin Longval, commander of Station Menemsha, and Chief Robert Parent, executive officer of the station, advanced five petty officers in rank Wednesday morning before the flagstaff of the station. The ceremony was attended by local USCG Auxiliary members who regularly stand radio watch at the Station.  Auxiliarist Wayne Iacono was
asked to participate by pinning the new BM2 Chevrons on Joel Behr.

Auxiliarists perform many Coast Guard tasks including Radio Watch, Food Service,
Watchstanding, and On-The-Water Patrols providing support to active duty


Station Menmesha Change of Watch

       Change of watch at station Menemsha Auxiliary staff at chang of watch menemsha

 June 2018: Master Chief Robert Riemer handed off command of Station Menemsha to Senior Chief Justin Longval at a change of watch ceremony in the Coast Guard’s Menemsha boathouse. Capt. Richard Schultz, commander of Sector Southeastern New England, lauded Riemer for his stewardship of Station Menemsha, and in particular the heavy weather training and cost-of-living analysis he undertook. Attending were members of the Martha's Vineyard USCG Auxiliary flotilla. Photos courtesy of Rich Salzberg ; MV Times 


Martha's Vineyard Flotilla named Most Outstanding Flotilla 2017

Flotilla of the year

Flotilla 11-9, the Vineyard’s U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary group, was awarded Most Outstanding Flotilla for 2017 at a ceremony at Station Menemsha Saturday. Past flotilla commander Tim Carroll accepted the award on behalf of the flotilla. The plaque was presented by Cape and Islands division commander Alden Lumbard. Lumbard later told The Times the win was “very impressive.” Out of 49 flotillas in First District, Northern region, which stretches from Maine to the Connecticut border, Flotilla 11-9 rose to the top, he said.
 “That was a wonderful thing for everybody,” flotilla operations officer Wayne Iacono later said.
“They’re a very active flotilla,” Lumbard said. Lumbard noted Flotilla 11-9, like the other five flotillas in the Cape and Islands division, is embedded in a Coast Guard station, a setup found nowhere else in the nation. Photo courtesy of Rich Salzberg; MV Times


Recognizing USCG BM3 Gonsalves

Iacono presents Gonsalves with cupStation Menemsha says goodbye to Gonsalves

June 2018: Flotilla Staff Officer Wayne Iacono recognized the contributions of BM3 Nick Gonsalves to Flotilla 11-9 by presenting him with a cup signifying his accomplishments. Photos courtesy of Caroline Brehman; MV Times

Members of the Flotilla attended Bosun’s mate third class Nicholas Gonsalves going away event outside Station Menemsha Wednesday morning. Gonsalves is headed to A-School in Yorktown, Virginia, to become a machinery technician or MK after three years of duty in Chilmark.
Gonsalves and his fellow Coasties passed around a plaque engraved to recognize his time at the station. As each held it, they reflected on serving with Gonsalves. Many thanked him for mentoring them and lauded the development of his skills and leadership. They all wished him well in his next Coast Guard experience.

Flotilla Commander Glenn DeBlase gave Gonsalves a Certificate of Appreciation for the help he gave to members of the Flotilla in mentoring and training exercises



Martha's Vineyard Health Fair

Passing out information at health fair

March 2018:  Our Flotilla participates in many local events.  Here, members manned a USCG Auxiliary information table at the Martha's Vineyard Health Fair, an annual event that hosts various community groups and services.  We answered questions and handed out marine safety brochures.  Had a great turnout.  Photo courtesy of Joe Berini


Radio Watchstander Training

Here, Assistant District Staff Officer for Watchstanding Joe Berini is training Wayne Iacono to be a radio watchstander at USCG Station Menemsha. Photo by BMC Parent USCG

Wayne and Joe watchstanding in Menemsha

Becoming a watchstander is one of the fastest ways to really help the active duty Coast Guard in their missions. By getting qualified at Station Menemsha, you can serve (at your convenience) as a radio watchstander. This means you will work in the radio watch center at the station monitoring radio calls for assistance and maintaining communications with any Coast Guard boats that are underway. You will also answer the station's telephones. If a MAYDAY call comes in, you will work with other USCG units to handle the communications.

It takes about 80 hours of training on-site to learn to do this. But, it is a rewarding task; you are freeing up an active duty member for other tasks. You will be working with the station in the same manner and under the same orders as an active duty Coast Guard person.
Normal watches ("shifts") are four hours each, 24/7. You can arrange the times to suit your availability and desires.

All it takes is some basic people skills and a commitment to help the public and the Coast Guard. You'll receive all the training and practice you need.


New Vessel Examiner

Derrick Teel, new vessel examiner

Meet Derrick Teel, the latest member of the Martha’s Vineyard Flotilla to be certified as a Vessel examiner. The certificate is presented by Tim Carroll, the Flotilla Commander. Photo courtesy of Joe Berini

December 2017: Completing the Vessel Examination Course and performing 5 Vessel Safety Checks with a qualified examiner allows members to participate in one of the primary missions of the Coast Guard Auxiliary: the promotion of recreational boating safety through on-board vessel safety checks. Boaters passing this free service are awarded a US Coast Guard/Auxiliary Decal that informs the Coast Guard, Harbor Patrol, Sheriff & Police, and other boating law enforcement agencies that your boat was in full compliance with all Federal and State boating laws during a safety check for that year.


New Crew Members

New Crew members

Flotilla 11-9, the Vineyard’s U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary chapter, decorated two of its members with operational medals at an Oct. 19 ceremony held at Mansion House in Vineyard Haven. Lobsterman Wayne Iacono and Cars Unlimited owner David Pothier received the medals from Master Chief Robert Riemer of Station Menemsha.

The medals were in recognition of Boat Crew qualification. Members who are Crew qualified can assist in Safety Patrols, Regatta Patrol, boat parades and Chart Update Patrols - Verifying the accuracy and completeness of information published on charts and related navigation publications. They also work with USCG Station Menemsha in training missions. Photo courtesy of flotilla member


Auxiliary Food Service Specialist (AUXFS) program

Tim Carroll serving food at station Manemsha 

Flotilla Commander Tim Carroll prepares and serves dinner for USCG Station Menemsha personnel. Photo courtesy of flotilla member

Tim Carroll is the latest member of the Martha’s Vineyard flotilla preparing to become a certified Auxiliary Food Service Specialist (AUXFS). He joins Karen Kukolich who has been serving food at the station for years. Carolyn McClure of flotilla 6-5 has been coordinating the AUXFS members at Station Menemsha. Karen was our first AUX FS and works with Carolyn in the sector.

The Auxiliary Food Services Program is a National Auxiliary Program designed to provide trained Auxiliarists to fill-in at Small Boat Stations or on cutters to relieve active duty FSs. The program allows the active duty FSs to attend training, take leave, etc. without the Station being shorthanded. The AUXFS members can also assist with VIP events, Change of Commands and other events such as picnics. The AUXFS members prepare the food the stations provide, and often supply that home cooked touch during the holidays and at special events.

All AUXFS members have been trained using the Coast Guard Approved Auxiliary Food Services Guides and instructors. Training includes both classroom lectures and culinary skills work followed by a standardized performance qualification completion within 1 year of the initial class. Medical screenings and Hepatitis A vaccines along with a yearly sanitation and team coordination training are also required.



Buzzards Bay Air drop training

On Thursday Sept 28, 2017 members from Flotilla 11-2 (Woods Hole) and 11-09 (Martha’s Vineyard) participated in a combined training mission on Buzzards Bay West of the shipping lanes. The training consisted of 2 sets of two drops from a HC 144 from USCG Air Station Cape Cod.

       HC 144 in flight The drop area of the HC 144

 The EADS HC-144 Ocean Sentry is a medium-range, twin-engined aircraft used by the United   States Coast Guard in the search-and-rescue and maritime patrol missions

Items dropped in the training 

The items dropped were a Pump Can, a Rescue Gear Box, and three large duffle bags.

The day started as flat calm and warm. A gorgeous morning. By the noon conditions were deteriorating, but still within safety limits. Wind was 15 mph gusting to 20. Seas were 5 foot. The Auxiliary facility was the Y Knot owned by Jeff Thomas. Crew consisted of Tim Carroll, Flotilla Commander of the Martha’s Vineyard Flotilla and Russ Gasdia from Woods Hole Flotilla 11-2. A great day was had by all and the Air Station was very appreciative of the opportunity to conduct this training in those conditions.

Captain Timothy Tobiasz followed up:
“Just a quick email to thank you for the outstanding support during our air
drops last week in Buzzards Bay. I was on board the C144 completing my
semiannual mins and quickly noted the winds and seas, although within
limits, were not calm by any means. Thank you again, the training was
outstanding and the support appreciated. Stay safe out there. “


Flotilla Vessel Safety Check Officers highlighted in MV Times article

USCG Petty officer checking PFD on safety patro; 2017 VSC decal

August, 2017: The flotilla was recently highlighted in an article in the MV Times.  In a story about the importance of having the right safety equipment aboard a vessel, reporter Rich Saltzberg accompanied a Station Menemsha boarding team on one of their Safety patrols.  The article emphasizes one of the most important responsibilities of the Auxiliary is to provide free safety checks for recreational boaters.  Photo courtesy of flotilla member

Read the entire article HERE

Night Patrol with Station Menemsha

         David Pothier and Glen DeBlase during night patrolTim Carroll during night patrol

 July, 2017: Three members of the flotilla undergo night operations training on CG Station Menemsha’s 47236, a 47 foot MLB. BM3 Gonsalves and crew put Tim Carroll, Glen DeBlase and David Pothier through their paces. Station Menemsha crews and Flotilla members frequently conduct training exercises in the waters off Martha’s Vineyard

2016 Auxiliarist of the Year

Berini accepting Auxiliarist of the year award at DTRAIN

At DTrain in February, Joe Berini was named Auxiliarist of year for 2016 for First District Northern, Division 11, Cape Cod & The Islands. Berini is the FSO-IS and FSO-CS for Flotilla 11-09 on Martha’s Vineyard.



David Pothier on watch at Station MenemshaBerini standing radio watch

 Coast Guard Station Menemsha now has two qualified Radio Watchstanders from the Flotilla.  David Pothier and Joe Berini stand regular watches at the station.  This allows the station members who would stand the watch to do additional training. 

Becoming a watchstander is one of the fastest ways to really help the active duty Coast Guard in their missions. By getting qualified at Station Menemsha, you can serve (at your convenience) as a radio watchstander. This means you will work in the radio watch center at the station and monitor for radio calls for assistance. You will maintain communications with any Coast Guard boats that are underway. You will answer the station's telephones. If a MAYDAY call comes in, you will handle the communications.
It takes about 80 hours of training on-site to learn to do this. But, it is a rewarding task; you are freeing up an active duty member for other tasks. You will be working with the station in the same manner and under the same orders as an active duty Coast Guard person.
Normal watches ("shifts") are four hours each, 24/7. You can arrange the times to suit your availability and desires.
All it takes is some basic people skills and a commitment to help the public and the Coast Guard. You'll receive all the training and practice you need.  



Flotilla member Wayne Iacono


Wayne Iacono, a member of flotilla 9 fished for lobster off MV

Wayne Iacono, a member of Flotilla 9 was featured in an article in the Martha Vineyard Times in June 2016.

Mr. Iacono grew up in Vineyard Haven, and has spent his life on Vineyard waters, commanding his first skiff at the tender age of 10. “It wasn’t unusual back then,” he said. “A lot of kids had their own boats.” He started lobstering when he was 12 years old, when he put out 10 pots off West Chop. “I just kind of picked it up after that,” he said.

After graduating from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, class of 1965, Mr. Iacono enlisted in the Coast Guard, spending most of his time on the Vineyard and Cape Cod, ending his career as Officer in Charge of Buzzards Bay Light Station. Throughout his Coast Guard years, he still fished commercially on his days off, except during his yearlong tour of Vietnam, where he went on river patrols that often saw heavy action.

He continued to fish part-time while he was the Vineyard Haven harbormaster, and while the Freedom was being built at the Bruno Stillman boatyard in New Hampshire in the early ’80s.

Now Mr. Iacono fishes for lobster, scallop, and sea bass, with a little bit of plumbing and caretaking worked in. On occasion his son Vinny, owner of Creekville Oysters and Creekville Landscape, lends a hand on the Freedom.

Story and photos reprinted courtesy The Martha's Vineyard Times. 


Flotilla Elects Officers

Tim Carroll and Glenn Deblase with Division oficers at change of command

 At their Saturday, Nov. 19, meeting, Flotilla members re-elected Timothy Carroll and Glenn DeBlase as flotilla commander and vice flotilla commander. The elections were held at Coast Guard Station Menemsha; division flotilla officers Ray Hogan and Mike Hays traveled to Martha’s Vineyard to congratulate the new commanders. Mr. Carroll and Mr. DeBlase will lead our 16-member flotilla, which was officially established a year ago, after a five-year development period, as a detachment of the group in Woods Hole.


Flotilla VFC to the Rescue

Boat burns off Menemsha as CG pours water on flames.

It’s all in a day’s work for Glenn DeBlase, the Vice Flotilla Commander of Flotilla 11-9.

Mr. DeBlase is the assistant Harbormaster in Menemsha. He and Mr. Jason, the harbormaster, were in the harbormaster’s shack on June 17th, 2016. Mr. Jason said, “We heard a call on the radio — it was Rick [Penny], I recognized his voice, and all he said was, ‘I think we have a bit of problem out here.’ And I knew him well enough to know from the tenor in his voice that something serious was going on. So we immediately got underway.”

DeBlase and Mr. Jason raced out of the harbor. “The people were up on the bow, the adults and the kids, and we could see smoke coming out of the cabin,” Mr. Jason said. “And we zipped up alongside and started taking people off the boat.” They returned to the dock with the passengers. He estimated it took him about five minutes to unload. When they returned with more firefighting equipment, the boat was in flames.

Station Menemsha initially sent a 29 footer to make sure all people were safe, then returned with a 47 footer. They were unable to save the boat which eventually became a total loss.

(Story and photos reprinted courtesy The Martha's Vineyard Times)



New AUXOP Members

Berini, Teel and Deblase accepting papers for Auxop completion

Saturday, June 16, at a ceremony in the training room of Coast Guard Station Menemsha, Coast Guard Auxiliary officials recognized three members of Flotilla 11-9, the Island’s recently established auxiliary, for having completed the Operational Auxiliarist Program (AUXOP).

Islanders Derrick Teel, Joe Berini, and Glenn DeBlase passed the program. In recognition of their hard work, each received a decoration known as the AUXOP Device. Coast Guard Auxiliary Division Commander Michael Hays, along with Division Vice Commander Raymond Hogan, were on hand to present the decorations.

Flotilla commander and Chilmark executive secretary Tim Carroll said attaining the AUXOP device is a special accomplishment, and enumerated what it takes to get one. “It is achieved through extensive study and academic testing in weather, seamanship, marine patrol, radio communications, leadership courses, marine safety, pollution prevention, and navigation,” he said.

Although not present, several other members of Flotilla 11-9 received awards or commendations on Saturday. Norman Somer and Veronica Murry received certificates for five years of service to the Auxiliary. Chris Scott received a certificate for completing 50 hours of public affairs activity. David Pothier earned a certificate of advancement to Instructor Specialist, and was awarded a certificate for superior performance of duty. In addition, he was honored with a plaque as flotilla member of the year.

(Story and photos reprinted courtesy The Martha's Vineyard Times)

Public Education on the Vineyard



Mr. Scott and Mr. Pothier in classroom


  David Pothier and Chris Shaw wrap up the Boating Skills and Seamanship course

June 2016: The U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary's Boating Skills and Seamanship (BS&S) course is a comprehensive course designed for both the experienced and the novice boater. The course, now in its 14th edition published in 2013, consists of core required two hour lessons plus elective lessons, providing up-to-date knowledge for handling boats in all conditions.