Coast Guard Station Annapolis Md., hosts open house

A local youth poses aboard a 29-foot Response Boat-Small while wearing Coast Guard Seaman Andrew VardakisÕ hat and a lifejacket during the open house held at Coast Guard Station Annapolis, Md., May 11, 2013. Approximately 300 locals visited the station where members of several local first responder agencies joined the station to interact with the public and highlight the importance of cooperation between the Coast Guard and local authorities. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class David R. Marin

A local youth poses aboard a 29-foot Response Boat-Small while wearing Coast Guard Seaman Andrew Vardakis’ hat and a lifejacket during the open house held at Coast Guard Station Annapolis, Md., May 11, 2013. Approximately 300 locals visited the station where members of several local first responder agencies joined the station to interact with the public and highlight the importance of cooperation between the Coast Guard and local authorities. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class David R. Marin

Post written by PA2 David R. Marin

Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Annapolis, Md., welcomed visitors during the station’s open house, Saturday.

The station not only invited the community to visit but also asked local first responders to display some of their assets and help members of the community learn of the agencies’ coordinated efforts during a response.

Once at the station visitors could interact with crews from all the agencies and climb aboard the trucks, boats or helicopter. Crews from the Anne Arundel County Fire Department brought a fire truck and a truck for their Special Operations Dive Rescue team.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Josh Namowitz talks with pilots (from left to right) Sgt. Shannon Mack and Cpl. Jeff Reger with Anne Arundel County Police, at Coast Guard Station Annapolis in Annapolis, Md., May 11, 2013. The pilots took part in an open house at the Coast Guard station to interact with the public and highlight the importance of cooperation between the Coast Guard and local authorities. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lisa Ferdinando

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Josh Namowitz talks with pilots (from left to right) Sgt. Shannon Mack and Cpl. Jeff Reger with Anne Arundel County Police, at Coast Guard Station Annapolis in Annapolis, Md., May 11, 2013. The pilots took part in an open house at the Coast Guard station to interact with the public and highlight the importance of cooperation between the Coast Guard and local authorities. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lisa Ferdinando

Anne Arundel County Police arrived aboard a helicopter, Maryland Natural Resources Police had a small boat, Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department had their 33-foot Fire Rescue boat, and the Anne Arundel County Medical Center had a mobile unit there available for blood donations.

All the represented agencies are ones that typically respond whenever there is a report of someone on the water in need of assistance.

“May 18th marks the beginning of National Safe Boating Week and the start of the boating season,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Josh Namowitz, the executive petty officer of station Annapolis and coordinator for the event. “I thought that by having an open house and inviting local search and rescue agencies, we could not only get to better know our community and they us, but we would reach more people and have a greater impact by inviting the public to come to us instead of us going out to them.”

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Monsma, a machinery technician with Coast Guard Station Annapolis, Md., discusses the engines and capabilities of the 45-foot Response Boat-Medium with visitors during the stationÕs open house May 11, 2013. Approximately 300 locals visited the station where members of several local first responder agencies joined the station to interact with the public and highlight the importance of cooperation between the Coast Guard and local authorities. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class David R. Marin

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Monsma, a machinery technician with Coast Guard Station Annapolis, Md., discusses the engines and capabilities of the 45-foot Response Boat-Medium with visitors during the station’s open house May 11, 2013. Approximately 300 locals visited the station where members of several local first responder agencies joined the station to interact with the public and highlight the importance of cooperation between the Coast Guard and local authorities. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class David R. Marin

The event marked the first time in recent years the station had an open house. There were uncertainties about the weather, the number of people to expect and even what crews would be able to attend.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Jody Schulz, the department president and boat captain with the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department. “It’s been a great crowd. We’re from Queen Anne’s County, Kent Island, and many people who have been here today have been from Kent Island. It’s been great, and I think it will only get better.”

The open house also served as a way for members of the participating agencies to gather in a non-responsive roll.

“I think it was more than an open house for the community, but an opportunity for all the boat operators to get to meet one another,” said Schulz. “When we respond to incidents, we don’t necessarily get a chance to get on each other’s boats and see the equipment or meet the people. So as much as it is beneficial for the public to be here, I think it is as beneficial for the Coast Guard and all the other first responders.”

With more than 300 visitors to the open house, Namowitz already has plans for the future.

“We’re going to make this an annual event,” said Namowitz. “Hopefully it will grow and have more participants and things for people to see and do.”

Kent Island Volunteer Fire Fighter Jody Schultz sits aboard a 29-foot Response Boat-Small while speaking to Coast Guard Seaman Andrew Vardakis during the open house held at Coast Guard Station Annapolis, Md., May 11, 2013. Members of several local first responder agencies took part in the open house to interact with the public and highlight the importance of cooperation between the Coast Guard and local authorities. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class David R. Marin

Kent Island Volunteer Fire Fighter Jody Schultz sits aboard a 29-foot Response Boat-Small while speaking to Coast Guard Seaman Andrew Vardakis during the open house held at Coast Guard Station Annapolis, Md., May 11, 2013. Members of several local first responder agencies took part in the open house to interact with the public and highlight the importance of cooperation between the Coast Guard and local authorities. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class David R. Marin

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