Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Cape May volunteers in the community

Petty Officer 1st Class David Browne, the executive petty officer of Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Cape May, speaks with children from the Harbor Explorers summer program at the Cape May Nature Center Tuesday. The nature center's program director invited the Coast Guard members for their career week.

Photos and post by Petty Officer 2nd Class Crystalynn A. Kneen.


Since Coast Guard members live and work in the community, it is important for them to volunteer and help any way they can.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Reynolds, a crewmember at Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Cape May, teaches children from the Harbor Explorers summer program at the Cape May Nature Center how a buoy light functions Tuesday.

One block from Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, the Cape May Nature Center runs a summer program for children of all ages as well as an interim program for high school and middle school. The center provides children a scholarship for Coast Guard kids through the Good Neighbor Fund.

Members of the navigation team have volunteered their time to speak with a group of children called the Harbor Explorers. The Harbor Explorers is one of the summer programs at the center.

The Harbor Explorers summer program is for children ages 3 years old and up who enjoy marine related topics. They study marine biology, marine habitats, local wildlife and this week is their marine occupation career week.

Sue Slotterback, the nature center’s program director, is in charge of the Harbor Explorers  program and invited the team to speak with the children on the importance of their job after the students found a no-wake buoy on the beach and asked how and why they are put in the water.

Children from the Harbor Explorers summer program at the Cape May Nature Center look through binoculars at the water waiting for members of Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Cape May to demonstrate how to place a buoy in the water Tuesday.

The unit members spoke about the importance of channel markers and buoy maintenance, as well as demonstrated how a “quick flash” works on a bulb. They also dropped a buoy in the water from a Coast Guard boat.

“We feel it is important to educate the local community about the aids to navigation in the area to help us do our job more effectively,” said Petty Officer 1st Class David Browne, the executive petty officer of the ANT. “The local mariners provide a key role in ensuring we mark the safe water, reporting shoaling in or near a channel and reporting aid discrepancies; and that can start at any age.”

Browne and other members of the unit often volunteer throughout their community. They have participated in Earth Day cleanups and will be building a play ground in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., in the next few weeks.

Members of Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Cape May demonstrate placing a buoy in the water outside Cape May Nature Center Tuesday.

“We love the Coast Guard,” said Slotterback. “Every year we have arranged career week with the Coast Guard. We have visited the base and went aboard the Coast Guard Cutters Dependable and Vigorous. We also have recruit companies come out twice a year and help us clean up the area. With our shorthanded staff, there is no way we could do it without the Coast Guard and other people in the community.”

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