Coast Guard prepares for Alaska’s winter season

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Coast Guard across Alaska is making winter preparations by closing seasonal stations and removing aids-to-navigation in anticipation of the harsh winter months.

The Coast Guard has closed seasonal Auxiliary small boat stations in Whittier and Seward and closed the forward operating location in Cordova where an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak is stationed during the summer months. These stations are opened each spring and run through Alaska’s busy boating summer season to better increase the Coast Guard’s response time to any potential emergencies in Prince William Sound and are typically closed down after Labor Day.

The Coast Guard in Alaska maintains three Auxiliary small boat stations in Homer, Seward and Whittier. These stations are manned by willing volunteers who give their time to qualify to drive specialized Coast Guard boats and help augment active duty Coast Guard rescue crews. Due to available volunteers the station in Homer is manned year around and is available to respond to local boating safety needs.

“Despite these changes across Alaska, the Coast Guard is always here,” said Cmdr. Steven Pearson, Sector Anchorage response officer. “Our command centers are always open and we will be responding as quickly as available assets and weather conditions permit.”

The Coast Guard is also removing and shutting down area waterway aids-to-navigation across Alaska. Seasonally more than 100 aids-to-navigation are taken out of service during the winter months due to decreased vessel traffic and to minimize damage from ice and inclement weather.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the voluntary arm of the service. It is made up of men and women who freely give their time to help the Coast Guard educate the public about boating and water safety.

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