NPS, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary join forces

LAS VEGAS – The National Park Service and U.S. Coast Guard have formalized an agreement to bring together the resources of both agencies to better assist boaters on Lakes Mead and Mohave, they reported in a recent statement.

While volunteers of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary have been assisting boaters here for decades, the agreement joins trained boat drivers from the Auxiliary and boats from the NPS to increase safety patrols on the lakes.

“This is an important milestone,” said William Dickinson, superintendent of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. “Education is the best tool we have to keep boaters safe and prevent accidents. Traditionally boater education has taken place on shore. With the Coast Guard Auxiliary using NPS boats, we will now extend boater education to the water.”

While auxiliary members don’t have law enforcement authority, they will be on the water educating park visitors about safe boating practices, providing information, and when called upon will assist with search and rescue. Coast Guard Auxiliary patrols using NPS boats on Lake Mead should begin by the summer of 2009.

“Usually we use our own personal boats and the Coast Guard covers the fuel,” said Phillip Sherman, the commander of the Mohave Valley Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla. “But the park service boats are a lot better equipped for our patrols.”

The first joint patrol took place at the end of September 2008 on Lake Mohave.

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