Coast Guard member receives surfman designation at historic Humboldt Bay station

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ruben Colon, a boatswain’s mate assigned to Coast Guard Station Humboldt Bay, became the service’s 543rd surfman during a ceremony at the station, Dec. 14, 2018. The surfman designation is the highest qualification a coxswain can achieve in the Coast Guard and allows designees to operate a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat in 20-foot breaking surf, 30-foot seas and 50-knot winds, maximizing the boat’s operational limits. (U.S. Coast Guard photo /Released)

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ruben Colon became the service’s 543rd surfman during a ceremony at the station, Dec. 14, 2018.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo.)

SAMOA, Calif. — A Coast Guard Station Humboldt Bay crewmember received the prestigious surfman designation during a ceremony at the station, Friday.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ruben Colon, a boatswain’s mate assigned to Station Humboldt Bay, became the service’s 543rd surfman, authorizing him to lead crews and operate surf boats in extreme weather and sea conditions.

The surfman designation is the highest qualification a coxswain can achieve in the Coast Guard. Qualified surfmen are authorized to operate the 47-foot Motor Lifeboat at the edge of boat’s operational limitations of 20-foot breaking surf, 30-foot seas and 50-knot winds.

“This has been a career goal and I’m excited to have made it,” said Colon. “I could not have achieved it without all those who mentored me and the crews I rely on to operate the boat.”

Coast Guard Station Humboldt Bay is one of the service’s 21 surf stations, where surf conditions greater than eight feet occur at least 36 days each year. Heavy surf often contributes to search-and-rescue emergencies along the Northern California coastline.

The surfman designation dates back more than 200 years to the U.S. Life-Saving Service, a predecessor of the Coast Guard.


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