U.S. Coast Guard dedicates new 45-foot small boat at Station Maui

MAALAEA, Maui, Hawaii — The U.S. Coast Guard held a blessing and dedication ceremony Wednesday, Oct. 21, at its small boat station in Maalaea on Maui for a new small boat.

The 45-foot “Response Boat Medium” (or RB-M) replaces a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat (MLB), which will be moved to Station Kauai at Nawiliwili Harbor after undergoing minor repairs on Oahu. The moves give each station a better platform to perform daily missions.

The 47-foot MLB is well suited to the windy and larger surf conditions of the Garden Isle and the 45-foot RB-M is well suited for the conditions of the Maui Triangle, the area between Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe.

Among those who attended last week’s ceremony at Station Maui in Maalaea Harbor were Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares, Maui County council members, Maui County Fire Chief Jeffrey Murray and representatives from the Maui Police Department, State Department of Land and Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Air Force, Transportation Security Administration and officials with humpback whale organizations.

Also, joining Station Maui crew members were U.S. Coast Guard personnel from Sector Honolulu, Air Station Barbers Point, the 14th District and the Auxiliary. The ceremony included a blessing by Rev. Kalani Wong and remarks by Chief Petty Officer Jay Rudometkin, Station Maui’s Officer in Charge, Mayor Tavares and Capt. Barry Compagnoni, U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Honolulu.

The vessel was dedicated to the residents of Maui County by Coast Guard Station Maui personnel.

The 45-footer enables Station Maui personnel to better interact with the boating community on the water in the Maui Triangle. Tested by Coast Guard boat crews, the RB-M’s improved design, new ergonomics, and enhanced safety features make boat crews more effective in performing multiple missions. The crew sits lower to the waterline than it did in the 47-footer, which is better suited for heavy surf.

“We’re excited about this new platform,” said Rudometkin, whose crews partner often with Maui County Fire Department and Ocean Safety officers on response. “The 45 is a good fit for us in terms of speed and improving our response time from our station at Maalaea.”

The 47-foot MLB is primarily designed for fast response in high seas, surf and heavy weather, and can self-right in less than 30 seconds. It is better suited for the sometimes extreme conditions of Kauai’s Na Pali coast, says Cmdr. Amy Cocanour, Chief of Response at Sector Honolulu.

“This shifting of resources improves our response times on Kauai and Maui and gives our boat crews the best tools available to perform their duties,” said Cocanour, who supervises the Coast Guard’s operational response in the main Hawaiian islands. “Our goal is to keep our crews safe in order to better serve their communities of Kauai and Maui.”

As part of the small boat re-allocation, the Coast Guard will also shift the 87-foot Kittiwake from its home port of Nawiliwili Harbor to Honolulu before summer 2010. The crew of Station Kauai will use the 47 to respond to cases around Kauai and the cutter will be used for more missions throughout the islands, said Cocanour.

The 11-person crew of Kittiwake will be transferred to Oahu when the cutter is reassigned to Honolulu.

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