When Patty and I arrived in Portland, Oregon, one of our first acquisitions was a new, out of the box, Bayliner 19 foot cuddy-cabin cruiser with an I/O 130 hp engine. We had a special tower made to receive the lights and antennea necessary for service as a Coast Guard facility and we outfitted it with all the necessay equipment for service as a Coast Guard vessel for assisting distressed boaters. The Bayliner has proved to be a perfect craft for this purpose as it is quick to respond, does about 35 mph on the water, is comfortable, being a recreational cruiser first, and is well eqipped for our work, not to mention being very economical to run. We only operate during the temperate months leaving December thur May to the more hardy sailors.
We assist the Port Authority by closing the river to recreational traffic when they have barge launch. It only takes a few minutes to drop a barge from its blocks. Then the tugs have to pick up the barge and take it to berth. There is also a lot of debris that follows and we have to keep the recreational boaters clear and out of harm's way. This happens two or three times a year and we like to participate.
Detail of equipment on tower whcih we had special- made for service as a Coast Guard facility.
We are very obvious when on the river. Most people treat us with the respect appropriate for an official vessel and know that we are out there to lend assistance, when needed. We have no enforcement authority. However, if we find boaters violating rules, we do bring it to their attention, in a nice way and if they refuse to comply the Coast Guard is only a radio call away.
We are constantly training, practicing and learning in the Auxiliary. Here a group is at the base practicing use of a portable pump, quite handy for sinking vessels.
In October of 2001, after 9/11, at the suggestion of a good friend in Masonry, Shriners and the Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians, I joined the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Since that time I have been actively involved, holding many offices both at the Flotilla and District levels. Patty also became involved and was a qualified Air Observer in Hawaii, then became crew qualified when we had our own facility in Portland. We continue to maintain an active level of participation.
Bob & Patty in front of our floating home on the Columbia River
Every year we have the Rose Festival which is a major event here in Portland. One of our jobs on the water is to protect the American and Canadian warships that come to town for the event. It is serious business and a lot of work as we have to round up the recreational boats on the river and escort them along the opposite side of the river. We are advised not to follow any vessel that may stray toward the ships as the Navy and Coast Guard have small gunboats that will intervene. And, the kids on those guns never smile. We also have to deal with obnoxious and drunk boaters but the Sheriff is always there to cuff 'tm up and take them in tow when they get out of hand. What fun.
We serve to protect many events on the water. There are all kinds of boating, swimming and paddling events. This is a photo of the dragon boat races. Many years ago Tiawan became a sister-city and gave Portland a number of these canoes and they have races several times a year. Coming from Hawaii, this is regular stuff for us. We stop all river traffic and hold them down to a no- wake speed - sometimes. More fun.
Multnoman Falls, (left) is another attraction about 10 miles upstream from our house. We get a pretty good view from the river (this is actually taken closer on land) All of this is in our Area Of Responsibility when we are on patrols.
At the Rose Festival there are battles among the square riggers. But, they always retrun for the next show.
Patty and I served as members of the Coast Guard Auxiliaryboth in Hawaii and in Portland, Oregon for about 10 years. We served in numerous offices and were qualified in various areas of service. It was getting to the point that maintaining all of our qualifications and keeping the boat qualified as a facility was getting to be difficult. So, in November of 2011 we decided that we had given enough time to the Coast Guard and thus, disenrolled. We still have many friends in the Auxiliary but are no longer active in Coast Guard activities. Our lives are very busy and we just were running out of time. And, we can use our boat for recreation now. What fun.