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Flotilla 13-03 Serves the Keys

Flotilla 13-03 - Volunteer Service to the Florida Keys

The paragraphs below describe several different ways in which Flotilla 13-03 assists the Coast Guard and serves the boating public of the Keys.  Members who participate in these activities are specially trained so that they are adequately prepared for the many tasks we perform.


Members of Flotilla 13-03 patrol the waters of the lower Keys from the 7 Mile Bridge to Sugarloaf Key. Our well trained coxswains and crew spend many hours a week on the water, keeping an eye out for any potential problems. We do not police the local waters; we support the Coast Guard with our eyes and ears.


During routine patrols, flotilla members check routinely to make certain that the Aids to Navigation in our sectors are in proper working order, in the correct locations, and otherwise true to their chart descriptions.


Flotilla 13-03 offers complimentary vessel inspections upon request. Your vessel will be fully inspected to comply with state laws. The vessel safety exam is an easy way to be certain that your vessel is safely equipped and that you have all the necessary equipment on board to protect your vessel and the lives of you and your passengers. Our equipment list usually exceeds what most state laws require.  If your boat passes the exam,  a "Vessel Safety Check" decal will be affixed to your boat to inform others that your equipment is up to state and federal standards. Fines can be heavy in the Keys if you are non-compliant with state laws, and this service is an audit of safety equipment on your boat. Only you are informed of the results.  


Safety is our number one priority in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Florida has the highest boating accident rate in the nation.  We are committed  to teaching safety on the water. We hold our Boating Skills and Seamanship program three times a year from November to March/April.  Classes meet twice a week for three weeks.  All classes are taught by qualified flotilla instructors.

Subjects covered, include:

  • navigation,
  • course charting,
  • required equipment,
  • rules of the road,
  • highway signs,
  • radio procedure,
  • knots (a different knot will be taught each evening),
  • and other safe boating information.

All on-the-water or air operations are considered operations: boat crew and coxswain training, safety, and search and rescue operations. Our operations program also provide patrols for boat races, swims, paddle events and surface search and rescues.


There are many boating rules and regulations in Florida and without a comprehensive program of boater education, it is difficult for the average boater to stay current with the law to avoid trouble at sea. Our program visitors help to publicize State and Federal Boating Regulations by bringing current literature to local marinas and dealers for distribution to their customers.

We now have trained and board qualified members who serve as watch standers at Station Marathon on a weekly basis. 
Our crews and coxswains are often called out on a SAR (Search and Rescue) mission by either Station Marathon or Sector Key West Coast Guard. 

Upon successful completion of this personal qualification, members of the flotilla hold the minimum competencies to assist a qualified Pollution Investigator in completing a Pollution Investigation for incidents in the waters of the Keys.

This is just a sampling of the many services that we perform at the request of the United States Coast Guard. Availability permitting, we can provide groups with speakers, safety booths, and vessel inspection booths. We are also available for parades as part of our public affairs mission. Click the Contacts link to request more information.
OTHER PROGRAMS of the Coast Guard Auxiliary on Big Pine Key include:

  • National Boat Safety Week
  • Boat Show Participation
  • Aids to Navigation
  • Chart Updating
  • Commercial Fishing Vessel Inspection Program