crew in Burlington averages over 100 search and rescue missions a year. Most of them occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but there are still plenty in the rougher conditions of spring and fall, not to mention rescues on the ice during winter (happily, a relatively small share of the action). Many of these rescues are interagency operations, even those close to shore. Murray recalls a case where a young man fell from the Red Rock Cliffs into shallow water and was injured. The Coast Guard crew took on a pair of EMTs from the Burlington Fire Department, navigated the shoals to pick up the victim, and then beached the boat at the nearby swimming area where an ambulance was waiting to take over. “The interagency partnerships on Lake Champlain are the best I have ever seen in over 20 years of Coast Guard service,” Murray says, going on to list the 18 local, state, and federal agencies they have worked with just recently.
“Education, not Violation” The Coast Guard is also assisted in its boating safety mission by a large, active auxiliary. On Lake Champlain, 140 volunteers, men and women of all ages and walks of life, make up four flotillas that cover the entire lake. Some of the auxiliary help out at the call center in the Burlington station; others give boating safety courses; others offer courtesy safety inspections at dockside, pointing out problems with life jackets, flares, lights, and other required safety equipment.
Published on Jun 19, 2014
Read about the Burlington Coast Guard Station, the South Village, Lake Champlain and more in the Summer 2014 edition of Best of Burlington.