JUNEAU, Alaska – Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak crews opened its seasonal forward operating location in Cold Bay, Alaska, in advance of winter fisheries Saturday.
Coast Guard aircrews transferred equipment and air assets to Cold Bay to reduce the response time to Bristol Bay, the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.
A Coast Guard cutter with a Kodiak-based MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew will also be on patrol in the Bering Sea during the majority of the season.
MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews deployed to Cold Bay will rotate helicopter personnel each week, along with logistic flights by Kodiak-based HC-130 Hercules airplane crews, through the end of the Opilio crab season, with a scheduled break between December and January.
“Establishing forward operating locations helps us ensure the safety of mariners during peak fishing seasons in the region,” said Capt. Mark Morin, Air Station Kodiak commanding officer.”The FOL in Cold Bay can eliminate hours of flight time transiting from Kodiak to maritime emergencies in the Bering Sea and the Aleutians Islands during one of the busiest fishing seasons of the year.”
Air Station Kodiak utilizes three FOLs throughout the state of Alaska to cut down response times to mariners in distress. This past summer, helicopter crews were deployed to Cordova, Alaska, and Kotzebue, Alaska.