Reserves at the ready

PHILADELPHIA -Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Lewes, Delaware is manned by reserve members of Coast Guard Station Indian River, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, April 20, 2018.
MSD Lewes is used as the location for Station Roosevelt Inlet, a station-small, which augments the capability of Station Indian River during busy summer months.
Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson

At the mouth of the Delaware River Bay is a Coast Guard station which is uniquely being manned by an all-reserve crew to help their active duty members who usually staff the station during the summer months.

Station Roosevelt Inlet is what is called a station-small, which is used by Coast Guard members from Station Indian River in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, to provide more service as the boating public swells with the temperatures during the summer months. As more and more boaters head to the shore for vacationing or seasonal renting, the need to have members in areas to respond quickly to things like search and rescue and law enforcement grows. The building is also used year-round by Coast Guard inspectors who ensure ships and passenger vessels are safe.

Through a tremendous amount of hard work, dedication, cross-training and partnering, the Coast Guard Reserve members of Station Indian River have achieved the qualifications to fully-man the station on their own, and starting this summer, that’s exactly what they’ll be doing.

PHILADELPHIA – Coast Guard reserve members assigned to Station Indian River, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, pose for a group photo in Lewes Delaware, April 21, 2018.
The reserve members attached to Station Indian River man Station Roosevelt Inlet, a station-small, which augments the capability of Station Indian River during busy summer months.
Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson

“In the summer we man Roosevelt Inlet because the canal and the public dock is so populated, the active duty side splits up the tasking,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Raposa, a reservist and coxswain at station Roosevelt Inlet. “This is the first time a reserve crew has been fully qualified here to stand duty on their own.”

The reserve members will have the responsibility of assisting the active duty members with search and rescue and law enforcement missions, such as checking the integrity and safety of boats they board and making sure boaters aren’t operating under the influence. If the duties sound like there is a lot of responsibility that comes with them, that’s because there is. Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Snovell, a boatswain’s mate at Station Indian River who worked with the reserve crew to get qualified, said it takes active duty members a lot of time to gain the level of competency and responsibility they have achieved.

PHILADELPHIA – Coast Guard reserve members assigned to Station Indian River, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, patrol the waters of Lewes, Delaware in a 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water, April 20, 2018.
The reserve members attached to Station Indian River man Station Roosevelt Inlet, a station-small, which augments the capability of Station Indian River during busy summer months.
Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson

“I have heard tales of fully qualified reserve crews over the years,” said Snovell. “It’s definitely rare. The most unique thing about what’s taking place here is the camaraderie between the active duty and the reserve folks here and the level of certification that’s taking place.”

Raposa said he and the reserve crewmembers are glad to be given the responsibility and are eager to help.

“This is really going to help the Indian river crews from getting stretched out during the summer months and saves them from having to make the three-hour transit back to the station from the canal during the busy summer months.”

Snovell said he had only seen three coxswain qualified reservists during his time in the Coast Guard and one was prior enlisted.

PHILADELPHIA – Coast Guard reserve members assigned to Station Indian River, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, patrol the waters of Lewes, Delaware in a 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water, April 20, 2018.
The reserve members attached to Station Indian River man Station Roosevelt Inlet, a station-small, which augments the capability of Station Indian River during busy summer months.
Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson

“It takes a tremendous amount of dedication to do this,” he said. “As a reservist to do this, you really need to take your work home with you so-to-speak and this is the first time this is happening at Indian River.”

While the augmentation will allow Indian River members the opportunity to take some weekend days off in the summer, Snovell says more important impact will be to positively reduce fatigue on the active duty crews, increase the experience of the reserve crews, and the reservists of Indian River are more than ready to assist.

“I think my favorite part of this is the responsibility it gives you,” Raposa said. “You’re responsible for a lot when you man this station – especially as a coxswain, and it’s a good feeling.”

PHILADELPHIA – Coast Guard reserve members assigned to Station Indian River, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, patrol the waters of Lewes, Delaware in a 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water, April 20, 2018.
The reserve members attached to Station Indian River man Station Roosevelt Inlet, a station-small, which augments the capability of Station Indian River during busy summer months.
Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson