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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 14, 2024


April 28, 2004 – The St. Thomas/St. John branch of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary can again take to the seas, thanks to the arrival of a 27-foot Boston Whaler. The motor boat, which as yet doesn't have a name, officially went into service on April 17.
"We had stopped doing training and patrols because we didn't have a vessel," C.C. Kreglo, flotilla commander, said.
For many years, the Coast Guard Auxiliary depended on a boat owned by member Klaus Willems. But Kreglo said that when Willems sold the vessel last year, that left the auxiliary with no way to patrol.
The auxiliary, which has 42 members, has come by the Boston Whaler as part of a new Coast Guard program that supports the volunteer organizations by giving them boats. "It's a trial run," Kreglo said.
Cmdr. Kevin Crawley, the Florida-based Coast Guard Auxiliary liaison officer for the territory, said such boats have been placed with about half a dozen auxiliary units around the country.
Kreglo said the Whaler is being kept at the Coast Guard dock in Charlotte Amalie and will be maintained and fueled by the Coast Guard, which also will have use of it.
Lt. j.g. Eric Willis, a Coast Guard spokesman in San Juan, said the boat's presence means that in the event of a heightened security level, it's another vessel already in place. "It's a cost-effective way" to provide an additional boat for emergency use, Willis said.
The boat also provides an incentive for people to join the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Willis said.
Kreglo said the auxiliary also now has the capability to airlift injured people from remote locations using a basket attached to a helicopter. Some auxiliary volunteers also fly on search-and-rescue missions using their private planes.

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