Flotillas from NOCAL, Nevada and Utah conduct exercise to prep for America’s Cup

11th Coast Guard District News

ALAMEDA, Calif.— Members of the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, a civilian volunteer component of the U. S. Coast Guard, are taking to the water this Saturday, July 16 in the first ever district-wide Operational Exercise (OPEX) to hone their skills and prepare for the increasing challenges that face the San Francisco Bay area with the arrival of the America’s Cup yacht race in 2013.  Flotillas from Northern California, Nevada and Utah will converge on Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Calif., in a series of exercises designed to improve their capabilities of the operational facilities and crews lined up to participate.

The event, organized by Auxiliarist Dean LaChapelle, District Captain for response and operations, will include around 80 people and six operational vessels that will conduct maneuvering exercises, search and rescue patterns and man overboard drills.   At the same time, shoreside training will focus on related skills, such as navigation and communications.  Two mobile communications trailers will coordinate concurrent communications activities between Bodega Bay, Folsom Lake, Lake Tahoe and Lake Jordanelle, Utah.

“In contrast to the Operational Training Exercise (OPTREX) we usually have to train and evaluate our operational units,” said LaChapelle. “These are actual operational exercises we are using to improve the skills of our qualified crews.”

The exercise is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, July 16 with what is described as a shotgun start.  A number of assigned tasks will be completed, but at the same time and in a different order for everyone.

Operational training exercises for Auxiliarists are typically conducted on a local level by the flotillas or divisions. This event is uniquely the first district-wide event involving several states in the area of responsibility.

According to LaChapelle, participants are expected to have a challenging and exciting time given the size and scope of missions involved in the exercise. More importantly this training will help towards additional qualifications in boat handling, navigation rules, search patterns, etc., for participants.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed volunteer component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all it’s service missions.   The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit www.cgaux.org

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