Coast Guard conducts town hall meeting regarding proposed change to unit operation

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The Coast Guard conducted a town hall-style meeting Wednesday evening, giving the citizens of the Avon, N.J., area the opportunity to ask questions and make comments about a Coast Guard proposal to shift the operation of Station (Small) Shark River from year-round to seasonal.

Station (Small) Shark River is a substation of Station Manasquan Inlet in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., six miles to the south. A review of the operational needs and service delivery at Coast Guard Station Shark River was recently completed. As a result, a transition to seasonal operation was recommended. Should this plan be implemented, the station would shut down on or about Oct. 1, with operations resuming approximately one week prior to Memorial Day weekend.

In all, 75 citizens attended the town hall meeting at the station in Avon-by-the-Sea, with 15 posing a question or presenting a comment to the panel. Members of the public who were unable to attend the meeting may e-mail their comments to SharkRiver. Questions@uscg.mil until Aug. 22.

“I appreciate every comment and question that was presented or submitted to the Coast Guard during this discussion period,” said Capt. David Scott, commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, who oversees Coast Guard operations in the ports and waterways of Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania and most of New Jersey.

“A final decision has not been made. I will take all of the comments into consideration before any changes are made,” he said.

A review of operational needs and service delivery at Coast Guard Station Shark River was recently completed and, as a result, a transition to seasonal operations was recommended. Should this plan be implemented, the station would shut down on or about Oct. 1, with operations resuming season approximately one week prior to Memorial Day weekend.

During the off-season, coverage of Station Shark River’s area of responsibility would be provided by Station Manasquan Inlet and Station Sandy Hook (located 17 miles to the north) with Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City within 20-minutes air time to the south.

Crews working at Station Shark River currently report to and live in the vicinity of Station Manasquan Inlet or in Coast Guard-owned housing in Avon-by-the-Sea. No personnel would be required to relocate or move out of the region as a result of this action. Coast Guard crews from Station Manasquan Inlet would continue to use the Shark River facility during summer operations. In addition, the New Jersey State Police has expressed an interest in using the station as a base for deployment of on-water assets, training and office space.

The operational tempo of Station Shark River has significantly declined and now averages 33 cases per year, with the majority of these occurring between the months of April and September. Improvements in technology, resources and training allow today’s Coast Guard to respond faster and more efficiently. Station Shark River is covered by the new Rescue 21 system, which is designed to identify and provide the location of boaters in distress via a modernized, state-of-the-art communication network.

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