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Welcome to Surface Operations

Division Chief

 Michelle Thornton


The Surface Operations Division is divided into three branches that support the 6,000 qualified boat crew members in the Auxiliary Surface Program.

Our Safety Branch focuses on ensuring the safe execution of the surface operations mission. The Safety Branch is responsible to collect and analyze national mishap information to identify systemic risks and hazards that might compromise the safety of surface personnel. Working collaboratively with District Staff Officers, local hazards and safety concerns are identified and, combined with the national mishap data to help the Surface Operations Division develop “best safety practices” that address risks and hazards.

The Qualifications Branch leads the development of high quality standards and qualification guidelines that reflect both the rigor of the Coast Guard’s operational standards and the diverse nature of the Auxiliary mission and platform. This branch provides regular review of surface operational doctrine such as policy, training and qualification manuals. Finally, the Qualifications branch organizes and facilitates the CG Auxiliary Standardization (STAN) Team, which promotes an ongoing dialogue with Coast Guard and Auxiliary leadership and supports a nimble response to timely operational issues.

Within the Surface Division, the Special Projects Branch leads the development of member ready resources, including best practices guides and deliverables in support of safety, qualifications, training and other key components of the Surface Operations Division