Potential Hazard to Navigation at Plum Island South Jetty
Work is finished on the south jetty at Plum Island, but local officials are concerned about a potential problem that could lead to a dangerous situation for boaters.
Over the years, older damaged stone blocks have fallen into the waters surrounding the far end of the newly rebuilt jetty. These can be seen in the photo at left.
This stone debris is not visible at high tide and could therefore be hazardous to vessel operators not familiar with the area.
Photo courtesy of Ron Barrett
Check out a photo essay that documents the work on the jetty, it also provides some great aerial views that our members in operations will appreciate.
Check out an incredible photo essay provided by Brian Welsh, Flotilla Commander 38. The aerial photos were taken by Brian during two AUXAIR missions he flew in October and November of 2016 from the Merrimack River to Cape Ann.
Flotilla 38 Member Crews at Helo-OPS Support Mission in 5th USCG District / North Carolina
Flotilla 38 member Scott Crocker and his wife Leslie recently paid a visit to a former Flotilla 38 member in North Carolina. They spent time with Charlie Pencinger and his wife Lois. During the visit, Scott had the opportunity to crew with Charlie and members of his new flotilla on an Auxiliary mission.
With his move south, Charlie transferred to Flotilla 16-01 located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Flotilla 16-01 is in the 5th District, Southern Region, Division 16 and meets at the Elizabeth City Regional Airport. Nearby is USCG Air Station Elizabeth City. Division 16 is responsible for the Albemarle Sound and Outer Banks areas. The usual area of operational responsibility for Flotilla 16-01 includes the Pasquotank River, Little River, Perquimans River and that portion of the Albemarle Sound adjoining them. Between Albemarle Sound and the Atlantic is Kittyhawk and Kill Devil Hills where the Wright Brothers made aviation history.
The September flotilla meeting was attended by 17 Auxiliarists for a meet and greet with USCG BMCS Patrick Brown, the new Officer-in-Charge at Station Merrimack River. Senior Chief Brown gave us a little info about his path through the Coast Guard and the awesome privilege and responsibility of being in a command position. He also expressed his appreciation for the mission and efforts of the Auxiliary, and his expectations going forward. He summed it up as follows, "keep doing what you are doing.".
ICE CREAM SOCIAL
That's right! At the September flotilla meeting there was enough ice cream to make everyone happy. We'd like to thank HARBOR CREAMERY, the newest addition to Pleasant Street in downtown Newburyport, for their generous support providing the ice cream.
I recently visited Merri-Lee Steeves, the owner of Harbor Creamery, to arrange for the ice cream for our event. She was thrilled to tell me that she has a warm place in her heart for our flotilla, because her dad, Walter J. Lesynski, Sr. was the longest serving member of Flotilla 38! Indeed, he brought COMO Ron Booth and many other members into the flotilla. Thanks to Harbor Creamery for their generous donation to help make our night SWEET.
Comment from Rich Rubino, Flotilla 38 Vice Commander
Merri-Lee recounts a story about her dad
My dad's name was Walter J. Lesynski Sr. and was known to everyone as Wally. He was recognized for 60 years of continued membership in Flotilla 38. He taught the Boating Skills and Seamanship class for more years than I can count. My mom was also a member of the flotilla right up until her death in 1998. They would both be so pleased that you arrived at my door and that our ice cream will be at one of your meetings. As a child, I remember all the times our mom and dad would head out to the Auxiliary meetings or the times when they would take my brother Jay and I along to Auxiliary family events. I also remember him going on weekend volunteer patrols up and down the Merrimac. There are so many wonderful memories with my parents and their connection to Flotilla 38 and its members.
(Photo at right)
Wally Lesynski helps students master the bowline knot during the marlinspike session of a Boating Skills and Seamanship class. The photo was taken sometime in the mid-1990s at the Newburyport Middle School.
Wally's official operational Auxiliary Facility that went on patrol was a 38-foot cruiser the Sea Princess, which he built from the keel up at his marina, the MeriMar Yacht Basin. But he also had an unofficial operational facility the Deep Princess, a yellow one-man submarine.
CG STATION MERRIMACK RIVER
YANKEE HOMECOMING - OPEN HOUSE
Among the Auxiliarists assisting Station Merrimack with the open house during Newburyport Yankee Homecoming Week was John Mitchell.
Serving as his model for demonstrating gear worn during search and rescue operations is Hannah Welsh (daughter of Brian Welsh, Commander Flotilla 38)
Auxiliarists set up the Paddle Smart display and prepare Coastie, the remotely controlled and talking Coast Guard cutter (always a big hit with the kids).
Merri-Lee Steeves, owner of Harbor Creamery in Newburyport and daughter of Wally Lesynski, longest serving member of Flotilla 38.
Many thanks to the crew that pitched in for clean up day at the Plum Island Boathouse. It was in need of a serious cleaning especially since the City of Newburyport uses it as a polling place and the preliminary elections were scheduled there three days later! The cleanup crew consisted of (left to right) Scotty Crocker, Paul Aceto, Jen Hale, Larry Carnevale, Mike Sullivan, and pictured below with Jen, John Strouse.
• Joe Hogan of Flotilla 28 (Portsmouth) is planning to hold a 4 Hour TCT on 2 December, 2017. The venue and full details are TBD, Note that this is the “4-hour full course,” the one required for initial and 5-year currency in operational programs. It is not the TCT refresher which is only 1-hour. Joe has asked for those interested to please contact him directly: email@example.com
• AUXOP Seamanship (AUXSEA) course will begin at the Plum Island Boathouse at 1900 on Tuesday, 5 December, and continue for five consecutive Tuesdays, barring inclement weather. You can register with the Division-3 member training officer at: Eugene.D.Bernstein@a013.uscgaux.info
• Planning is underway for the combined First-Northern and First-Southern annual District Training Conference (D-Train). Location will be Newport, Rhode Island in March of 2018, all other details forthcoming.
Note that a number of stories and photos appearing on this page over the past months have been moved to Archived Stories and Photos.
(Links on left margin)
DIVISION 3 MEETING 28 SEPTEMBER
The annual elections took place at the September meeting of Division 3 at USCG Station Merrimack River.
The Division 3 Bridge for 2018 will be Scott Crocker of Flotilla 38, Vice Commander (left), and Glen Gayton of Flotilla 37, Commander (right).
Steve McCann of Flotilla 38 who served as Division 3 Commander for the past two years moves up to become the District Captain – Central (USCG Sector Boston) for 2018.
The Division 3 Change-of-Watch will take place on Saturday, 6 January 2018 at Salvatore’s Restaurant in Lawrence, MA; more details to follow.
A very special guest delivered a great presentation at the October 2017 meeting of Flotilla 38. Dyke Hendrickson is a writer with The Daily News of Newburyport, Massachusetts, for which he covers the greater Newburyport area, including Plum Island. He also specializes in news that highlights the waterfront and the rich maritime history of Newburyport and its Coast Guard roots.
Several years ago he researched and published a multi-part series in The Daily News about the 250th anniversary of the city. This project inspired him to write his fourth book entitled Nautical Newburyport: A History of Captains, Clipper Ships and the Coast Guard. In 2015 he published an article in The Daily News highlighting the 75th anniversary of Flotilla 38.
He has always lived near a waterfront, and newspapers for which he has been a writer and/or editor include, the Portland Press Herald, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Boston Herald and now The Daily News.
The author has also contributed to USA Today, the Boston Globe and TV Guide. He has written numerous stories about the Coast Guard, the fishing industry and the world of sailing, including that of tall ships. He has earned state and regional awards for his reporting and feature writing.
OCTOBER FLOTILLA MEETING - SPECIAL GUEST
He shared interesting anecdotes such as the story of how a British ship was taken in Newburyport without a shot being fired, and how a gun battle between Coast Guard vessels and run runners off Plum Island during prohibition led to fatalities from friendly fire.
Mr. Hendrickson also informed us that he recently signed a contract to write a book that will be entitled, Stories from the New England Coast Guard and that he is interested in locating “Coasties” who served in the region that he could consult for his book.
If you've served in the Coast Guard in the New England area, or if you know some who did and could share some interesting stories, contact Dyke Hendrickson at:
During the meeting at the Plum Island boathouse, Mr. Hendrickson gave us an interesting and informative presentation on the maritime history of Newburyport. He spoke about the merchant shipping and slaving eras, shipbuilding in Newburyport, events during the revolutionary war, and the history of the Coast Guard in Newburyport.
ANNUAL FLOTILLA ELECTIONS
Brian Welsh was elected as Flotilla Commander for 2018. Lawrence Carnevale was elected as Vice Flotilla Commander for 2018.
The December meeting will be a regular business meeting, the usual December holiday party is postponed and combined with the usual February dinner meeting at the Starboard Galley Restaurant in Newburyport. Members can bring one guest, uniform is casual dress. For dinner, attendees may order anything from the full restaurant menu. As per tradition, the flotilla will subsidize the member’s meal by $5. Staff officers for 2018 will be sworn in.
Member Training – Ron Doescher, FSO-MT
There will be an AUXOP Seamanship (AUXSEA) course presented at the Plum Island Boathouse (see details above under training opportunities).
Following up with one prospective new member. Jennifer Hale is now in AP status.
At the conclusion of the public education class at Nock School Middle School, 4 - 5 students expressed interest in joining the Auxiliary, class members were provided with contact info.
Information Systems & Materials- Wayne Cedres, FSO-IS & FSO-MA
(IS) Members need to enter all your mission hours and AUXDATA info as soon as possible so IS can be accurate at year end. Deadline to submit is mid-December.
(MA) All materials orders have been filled. The ANSC phone number and fax number have changed and are now up and running; numbers as follows: Phone: (618) 876-1708; Fax: (618) 876-1845.
Public Education – Joe Amore, FSO-PE
The Flotilla 38 Fall ABS (About Boating Safely) course concluded on 31 October 2017. The course was offered in conjunction with the Newburyport School Department Adult Education Program at the Nock Middle School. Sixteen students finished the course, 2 are becoming flotilla members.
Three new courses are in the planning stages, dates and times to be announced early next year:
•Flotilla 38 winter 2018 ABS course in conjunction with Newburyport School Department at the Nock Middle School.
•Division 3 early spring 2018 ABS course at CG Station Merrimack River.
•Flotilla 38 spring 2018 Introduction to Navigation course at the North End Boat Club.
Any members who are interested in becoming an instructor, reactivating instructor status, or who are just willing to assist as an instructor aide are welcome to attend any of these classes.
AIDS TO NAVIGATION (ATON)
At the Division-3 meeting, a call was put out for Auxiliarists willing to become an Aid Verifier (AV) in the First Coast Guard District ATON Program.
AVs are specially trained Auxiliarists who perform aid verifications and bridge surveys and make formal status reports to the Coast Guard. An AV may accompany the crew aboard an Auxiliary vessel on a surface patrol to verify an ATON. They are also trained to ride along with local harbor masters to prepare reports on ATONs and chart unauthorized aids. The AV may also observe and report on bridge ATONs that are accessible by vehicle or on foot. Basically, AVs work in direct support of the active duty CG Aid to Navigation Team.
One little aid to navigation doesn’t look like much on the inland waters and broad harbors of New England. In fact, due to a lack of skill, training, and experience, many aids are often ignored by local mariners. But, as you can see in the photo, they can have a major influence on boating safety.
The Auxiliary in our district is assigned the responsibility for over 2,519 private aids to navigation (PATON) and 175 bridge ATONs that are deployed from the Canadian border in Maine to the Connecticut border. During 2017, 883 private aids were verified and another 343 were checked along with 134 bridge surveys, 76 “unauthorized” PATONs were newly permitted, and 116 PATON photos were added to the district database
In Division-3, there are 139 private aids, 13 bridges, 18 unauthorized aids and 99 photos that require periodic updating. At the present time there are no current/qualified AVs in Division-3. As a result, there was no Auxiliary support provided by the division during the 2017 season. The district, particularly the Coast Guard Group Boston ATON Team, needs help from Division 3 Auxiliary members.
You can train on-line to become qualified. WebEX AV Training Sessions start in February, 2018 and end in May. Furthermore, the training is recorded and readily available on the District Navigation Systems Program webpage.