Modernization: Supporting our underway fleet

What does it mean to be Semper Paratus? You may think it means ready for the SAR alarm to sound or keeping a keen eye on port security, but in this case it means remaining vigilant in every sense of the word.

small boat operations

A small boat crew transfers contraband after a seizure on a routine law enforcement patrol. SFLC provides the engineering and logistics support to cutters underway to ensure they are mission ready. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Recently, a deployed 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter (WMEC) was performing routine small boat operations. While deploying the small boat, the cutter’s boat crew noticed a potential failure to their davit, the mechanical system used to lower the cutter’s small boat into the water. The davit is essential for mission execution and must be ready to go at a moment’s notice to deploy the small boat to intercept a “go-fast” or rescue a mariner in distress.

Remaining ever vigilant, engineering personnel aboard the cutter noticed damage to a small, but necessary component to the davit. Unfortunately, the potential failure the crew noticed could easily go undetected and could have had catastrophic potential.

Adding to the concerns, when a Coast Guard Cutter is underway, connecting with its logistics and engineering support on land can be challenging.

While the engineering team aboard the cutter worked to find the root of the problem, their engineering team on land, the Surface Forces Logistics Center (SFLC), was immediately available and worked tirelessly to provide support.

SFLC Logo

SFLC provides engineering, supply and logistics support to the surface fleet.

SFLC, the single conduit for mission support for all Coast Guard surface assets, coordinated with the cutter and released a fleet-wide message outlining the inspection process and repair procedures for the potential failure. The message was released and acknowledged by all cutters in the fleet – in less than 24 hours.

As a result, several other cutters reported that they had similar problems prompting a complete replacement of the key parts across the fleet, sparing the Coast Guard from a potential fleet-wide failure.

As the Coast Guard continues to modernize its processes and procedures, responding to situations like this one have become expedited and streamlined. The prompt and detailed reporting by the cutter, coupled with the swift action of the SFLC, ensured that the cutter and her crew remained Semper Paratus.