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Coast Guard to Cut Staffing, Patrols at Eaton's Neck



By Christopher O’Neill

 

The US Coast Guard is cutting its personnel at the Eaton’s Neck Coast Guard station from 33 to eight personnel. This means that they will no longer be able to provide 24-hour search and rescue support, but will do so only during reduced operating hours, and will need to divert capacity from other places in case of emergencies.


This change will expose thousands of boaters from Oyster Bay, Cold Spring Harbor, Bayville, Huntington and Northport to new dangers, as boat engine breakdowns, foul weather, and boating accidents could turn from dangerous to fatal, without any adequate Coast Guard response.


The staff cuts reflect a national recruiting crisis, with a national Coast Guard membership shortfall of 4,800 – over 10% of the Coast Guard’s active personnel.


Huntington senior harbormaster Fred Uvena said this week that the reduction means that "the town must work more closely with fire departments, village maritime officers, and county personnel to try to fill the gap, and ensure maritime safety."

The most serious needs occur in the low temperature periods of the late fall and especially in the early spring when folks are commissioning their boats for the season and break-downs – with the taking on of water – occur more often.


Uvena said that Huntington has 60 square miles of shore front to patrol with five full time people, plus 14 part-timers during the summer season. He noted the huge increase of boats in the area – since the end of Covid – including all kinds of vessels, from kayakers and canoes, to larger pleasure boats.


The Coast Guard is also reducing personnel at its Jones Beach and Kings Point’s stations.


The Biden administration believes the way of overcoming its recruiting crisis is by more progressive and woke “social engineering” policies that have caused recruitment crises in the other branches of the armed forces.


“The Coast Guard has both a moral and functional need to implement ‘culture change’…” boasted US Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA), the lead Democrat on a the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  The safety of boaters, Baymen, children and families on the water seems much less important than “culture change” to these politicians.

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