Coast Guard to hold town hall meeting regarding Station Shark River operational change

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard is seeking public opinion and will present its plan for seasonal operation of Station Shark River during a town hall-style meeting Wednesday, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There will first be an open house from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Both forums are scheduled to be held at Coast Guard Station Shark River, 125 Washington Avenue in Avon by the Sea, N.J. The Coast Guard is committed to open and frank dialog with the community and will consider and address any concerns.

*** Citizens unable to attend the public meeting may e-mail their questions and comments to the Coast Guard at SharkRiver.Questions@uscg.mil.

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 has been recommended. Should this plan be implemented, on or about Oct. 1, the station would shut down for the winter with operations resuming for the 2008 season approximately one week prior to Memorial Day weekend. During the off-season, coverage of Shark River’s area of responsibility would be provided by Station Manasquan Inlet (located six miles to the south), Station Sandy Hook (located 17 miles to the north) and Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City is within 40-minutes air time to the south.

One review also recommended the relocation of a 47-foot motor lifeboat to Manasquan Inlet, providing the station a second platform of the same type. This would allow two-boat training and greatly enhance emergency response in an area which includes Shark River’s coastal area of operations. The move is now underway and will be completed no later than Aug. 1.

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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