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Welcome to Surface Operations

Division Chief

 Michelle Thornton

COMO Michelle Thornton currently hails from Colorado Springs, CO and works as an Interagency SAR Coordinating Officer for United States Northern Command at Peterson SFB. Surface Operations and the Boat Crew Training Program are at the heart of most flotilla activities.  Boat Crew members and Coxswains are qualified in accordance with the current Auxiliary Boat Crew Training Manual, COMDTINST M16794.51 (Series).  The Coxswain requests and receives orders for a patrol that is multi-mission in nature. Patrols are carried out in accordance with the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual.

For updated information, manuals, (to become active in surface operations ) and Maintenance Procedure Cards (MPCs), including new Boat Crew Handbooks click on this link

Crew Qualification

After completion of training (Auxiliary Boat Crew Qualification Guide, Volume I: Crew Member, COMDTINST M16794.52A) and having knowledge and skills approved by a Qualifications Examiner, a member may be certified by the District Director of Auxiliary (DIRAUX) as Crew in the Boat Crew Program. Boat Crew members perform their duties under supervision of a Coxswain.  They stand helm, lookout, towing watches and anchor watch as well as other tasks that may be directed by the Coxswain.

Coxswain Qualification

A Coxswain will have been trained as a Boat Crew member and, beyond that, will have mastered additional knowledge and a number of other skills (Auxiliary Boat Crew Qualification Guide, Volume II: Coxswain, COMDTINST M16794.53A).  After approval of knowledge and skills by a Qualifications Examiner, a particular Coxswain may be certified by the DIRAUX to receive orders for an operational facility (OPFAC).  The operational facility used for a patrol must have been inspected and "offered for use" by completion of the appropriate form. That offer must have been "accepted" by the DIRAUX. Often, but not always, the vessel offered for use belongs to the Coxswain who receives the patrol "orders."

The Coxswain is responsible and in charge of the boat and crew during the patrol for which Coast Guard orders have been issued.  The Coast Guard places great trust in the Coxswain's ability to provide leadership, coordination and risk management skills in the execution of an ordered mission.

Personal Watercraft - Operator (PWC) Qualification

An Auxiliarist who meets knowledge and skills performance standards as approved by a PWC Qualifications Examiner may be certified as an Auxiliary Personal Watercraft (PWC) Operator.  These standards are set forth in the (Auxiliary Boat Crew Qualification Guide, Volume III: PWC Operator, COMDTINST M16794.54A).  A PWC Operator  is eligible to receive orders for patrols using a PWC that has been offered for use and accepted as a PWC facility.

Orders - Authorization for Patrols

Orders for facility movement, whether for vessel or aircraft movement, or radio facility activation and/or movement is one of two general kinds of orders that may be issued to Auxiliarists.  Such orders are considered "assignment to duty."  These orders may be either written or verbal, and may be reimbursable or non-reimbursable.  Auxiliarists may not use any facility or special purpose facility for any Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary purpose or mission unless appropriate patrol orders have been issued and the facility has been properly offered and accepted for use and the facility has the minimum qualified crew on-board.  AuxDATA II  is the mandatory method of requesting and issuing patrol orders to operational facilities.  This system is an totally web-based tool including electronic signatures and electronic submission of receipts with the orders.  An Order Issuing Authority (OIA) must issue or authorize orders before an Auxiliarist conducts any patrol activity. Please follow your District protocol in the completion of this Patrol request.



For information on getting a copy of the most current most up to date NavRules manual as well as answers to other frequently asked questions on navigation rules see this link to the US Coast Guard Navigation Center