A rigid-hull inflatable small boat from the Coast Guard buoy tender Abbie Burgess speeds out to the site of the survey project. (Courtesy of Mr. Brian R. McMahon)

The Long Blue Line: Minots Ledge Lighthouse – the deadly “Lover’s Light”

On April 17, 1851, the newly constructed lighthouse at Minots Ledge collapsed into the sea surrounding the ledge killing both its lighthouse keepers. Located off the Massachusetts coast south of Boston, the failure of this state-of-the-art lighthouse had been in the making for years. The lighthouse was rebuilt and has withstood every subsequent gale, but the two keepers lost will remain an important chapter in the Coast Guard’s long blue line.


U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Abbie Burgess sails past the Owl’s Head Lighthouse near Rockland, Maine. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Auxiliarist Bob Trapani.

U.S. Coast Guard ATON personnel honor lighthouse keepers

Crew members from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Abbie Burgess (WLM-553) and Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) Southwest Harbor, Maine, placed flowers and national ensigns at the gravesites of Abbie Burgess and Isaac Grant, two renowned lighthouse keepers, during a visit to Thomaston, Maine, in August. Burgess was best known for keeping the Matinicus Light shining and later the Whitehead Lighthouse with her husband Grant.


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The Panama buoy

The calm swells of the Port of Panama gave the Fir’s crew a perfect opportunity to show the Panama Canal Authority how buoys are maintained in the U.S. As the Panamanian crew traversed to the whistle buoy, they searched for the black-hulled tender sporting the iconic 64-degree Coast Guard red, white and blue racing stripe. There it was, on time, dead center of dozens of floating cargo ships.


Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Spratt, a boatswain's mate stationed on the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR, displays his hammer hook invention in Kodiak, Alaska, April 12, 2018. Spratt combined two tools commonly used by crew members working on a buoy deck, a chain hook and a maul, which allowed for a safer working environment by de-cluttering the buoy deck. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Dean.

Innovation from a life at sea

The crews aboard buoy tenders like Coast Guard Cutter SPAR, homeported in Kodiak, Alaska, use both sledgehammers and hooks to work on buoys but with so many tools, wouldn’t it make sense to combine? That’s exactly what Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Spratt that earned him the 2017 Capt. Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Award after coming up with the hammer hook.


Dave Lewald gives a presentation on the U.S. Coast Guard’s eATON response during the 2017 hurricane season during the 2018 IALA Conference in Incheon, Republic of Korea. U.S Coast Guard photo by Cmdr. Justin A. Kimura.

Coast Guard recognized for electronic aids to navigation hurricane response

The U.S. Coast Guard was recognized by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) for its use of electronic Aids to Navigation (eATON) during the 2017 hurricane season.

The members of the international technical association selected the U.S. Coast Guard for its best practices award during its quadrennial conference in the Republic of Korea’s third largest city.


Then Chief Petty Officer Trainor reenlists on “PA” Lighted Buoy in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, while stationed aboard Coast Guard Cutter Fir (WLM-212) in February 1986.

Coast Guard veteran dedicates 43 years to keeping mariners safe

Bob Trainor spent 43 years of his life serving with the U.S. Coast Guard, 31 years as an enlisted and later chief warrant officer, and 12 years as a civil servant working at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. For the majority of his years in the service, Trainor worked as a guiding light in the Aids to Navigation field making U.S. waterways safer, more efficient, and more resilient. Fair winds and following seas Mr. Trainor!


The Coast Guard Buoy Tender Harry Claiborne deploys the Vessel of Opportunity Skimming System during a pollution response drill in Galveston Bay, Feb. 28, 2008. The Coast Guard's VOSS equipment is strategically pre-positioned at several locations across the country and may be transported to a spill site on a single truck or by Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft. The mobile equipment is totally self-contained and capable of being used quickly and effectively aboard any available vessel.

The Inland Fleet: Quiet Keepers of the Heartland

The Coast Guard’s Inland Fleet provides a vital service to the United States through its work in maintaining fixed and floating aids to navigation along coastlines and riverbanks throughout the country. Hundreds of Coast Guard members tirelessly battle with outdated equipment and substandard accommodations to ensure the mission is completed. As the Coast Guard continues to modernize its assets, replacing the Inland Fleet is a necessity to ensure the service can remain Semper Paratus in all of its missions.


Week in the life of the Coast Guard 2017 – Tuesday

There is no “typical” Tuesday in the Coast Guard, but this blog features a snippet of what the Coast Guard was up to on Tuesdays during the month of February. From Antarctica to Key West, with old and new assets, the Coast Guard carried out missions vital to protecting and securing our national interests.


Legacy of Light: Boston Light marks 300th anniversary

When the Boston Lighthouse was first lit 300 years ago today, sailors called on New England ports in wooden ships, pirates roamed the Atlantic Coast and the 13 colonies were under the British crown. Today the light still guides mariners safely home and helps keep America’s economy on course.


225 Years of Service to Nation

225 years of Service to Nation: Aids to navigation

The technology has changed over the years but not the mission: to safeguard the Nation’s waterways and the ships, craft and personnel that ply those waters, maintaining the nation’s economy by supporting, guiding and protecting the most efficient form of transport we have – our Nation’s waterborne commercial vessels.


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