June 27, 2003
Contact: Dan Weggeland
(530) 547-4951

USCG Auxiliary Makes Shasta Safer with VHF Radio Network

On July 1, DBW Director Ray Tsuneyoshi attended the commissioning of Coast Guard Auxiliary - Lake Shasta Radio, the new marine-band VHF radio network, at Bridge Bay Resort & Marina, located immediately off of I-5, just north of Redding, California.

Among the local, state and federal officials also in attendance at the ceremony were; Jim Pope, Shasta County Sheriff; Captain Jeff Pettit, Commanding Officer, USCG Group Humboldt Bay; Chuck Kemnitz, Director of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary; and Kristy Cottini, District Ranger, U.S. Forest Service.

In addition to speakers and commissioning ceremony, the schedule of events include a helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station, McKinleyville on display; and a simulated search and rescue "at sea." A Coast Guard rescue swimmer entered the water as a victim. After locating the swimmer, a patrol boat responded and took the swimmer aboard. Finally, the helicopter (a Dolphin) arrived on scene, lowered a line and retrieved the swimmer from the deck of the patrol boat for swift delivery to a medical facility. A C-130 from CG Air Station Sacramento performed a low-altitude - (200 feet), slow-speed (130 knots) pass and made a simulated equipment drop to a "vessel in distress," including a raft, dewatering pump, first aid, advanced medical supplies, etc.

USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 03-09 in Redding, California, under the direction of Richard A. Behrendt, Flotilla Commander, and Charlie Duncan, Immediate Past Flotilla Commander, raised almost $10,000 to fund the creation of a VHF radio network on Lake Shasta. A reservoir with a capacity larger than San Francisco Bay, Shasta is a popular boating destination, with more than 1,000 houseboats on the lake. The new radio system is available for distress calls, weather information, hailing, etc., and will allow for faster rescue response times and enhance recreational boating safety in the area. A grant from BoatUS, the cooperation of the U.S. Forest Service, and a gift from the Lake Shasta Boat Owners' Association made this project possible.

With the volunteer assistance of local telecommunication engineers and the expert advice of the Auxiliary's district communications officer, the flotilla designed a VHF marine-band radio network and purchased related digital equipment. In the process, they obtained the support of all federal, state and local agencies with public safety jurisdiction on the lake for this undertaking. The U.S. Forest Service gave permission to use their existing high-altitude sites and the Coast Guard assigned marine-band frequencies for the network's use.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is an organization of expert volunteers who teach and promote boating safety under the aegis of the U.S. Coast Guard. Anyone interested in joining the Auxiliary can contact: Charles M. Duncan, Jr., (530) 241-6939, cmduscgaux@aol.com.

Boat and Helicopter over lake. Boat and Helipcopter over Lake.