OXNARD, Calif., — The 11th Annual Channel Islands Harbor Safe Boating Expo was held Saturday, May 14th at Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor. The event kicked off National Safe Boating Week which began May 21, 2016.
More than 900 spectators watched as rescue a Ventura County Air Rescue helicopter crew, a Coast Guard Station Channel Islands 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew, a Oxnard Rescue Water Craft, crews from Channel Islands Harbor Patrol and Ventura County, and also a Gold Coast Ambulance crew demonstrated boaters being rescued from a smoking sailing vessel.
“The search and rescue demonstration that occurred during the expo was nearly an exact replica of a case that ironically occurred this past Tuesday when the interagency search and rescue team responded to a boat on fire near Malibu,” said Lt. Thomas Wieland, commanding officer, Station Channel Islands Harbor. “That case was a perfect example of how the Safe Boating Expo showed the outstanding partnerships local agencies have but also how proper knowledge of ocean safety can save lives. The two people and their dog evacuated the vessel into the ocean just before it was fully engulfed in flames but did so after sending out a distress message and putting on lifejackets and anti-exposure coveralls. Even the dog, Rocket, had his own lifejacket. All these skills were taught at the expo.”
Organizations at the expo helped improve the safety and readiness of the local community by assisting with safety gear and providing safety training. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad successfully disposed of more than 300 expired flares and the California Department of Waterways donated more than 200 lifejackets.
The hands-on training for the proper use of a fire extinguisher, flares, diving safety, kayaking, paddle boarding, and CPR was organized by members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and led by a wide range of subject matter experts.
“We are proud to work alongside the outstanding state and local agency partners to promote safety on the water, said Wieland. “The best way to stay safe at sea is preparing for it before you ever head out there. The Safe Boating Expo was an excellent way for anyone, regardless of experience, skill or knowledge, to improve their ability to stay safe while enjoying what the ocean has to offer.