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Coast Guard Auxiliary seeks volunteers

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If you are a boater and would like to help keep Ohio waterways safe in your spare time, you might consider signing up to be a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The Auxiliary is a volunteer branch of the U.S. Coast Guard with multi-faceted duties, including boater education, safety inspections, safety and assistance patrols on lakes and rivers and Coast Guard Support with Maritime Homeland Security to name a few.

In the Dayton area there are five Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotillas serving residents owning 8,000 to 10,000 registered boats. Flotillas support boating safety operations on Grand Lake St Marys, Indian Lake, Caesar Creek, Rocky Fork and sixty miles of the Ohio River.

“There seems to be a strangely prevalent attitude that recreational boating is not a major activity in Ohio,” said Loren Gannon, commander of Division Six 8E of the Auxiliary. “In reality, there is a registered boat for every 57 Ohioans and water safety events even fatalities occur regularly. I know, my own patrol boat crew has plucked folks out of the water and towed their boats to safety for 30 years.”

At this time, according to Gannon, there is more demand for services by the area flotillas than there are volunteers to cover it.

“We need mature, vigorous guys and gals who love serving the public as part of a like-minded crew. We’ll give you the skills,” he added.

You can learn more at cgaux.org or call (937) 434-6918 or (937) 478-6807. You can also stop by the Auxiliary booth at the upcoming Dayton Boat, Sportsman and Fishing Show, March 7-9 at the Airport Expo Center.

Boater safety classes: Following are upcoming boater safety classes offered in the Dayton area:

-- March 11: Boating Skills & Seamanship (13 sessions, $65) at Fairmont High (CG Auxiliary -937-293-4131).

-- March 22: About Boating Safety (1 8-hour session, $40 includes lunch) Indian Lake Park Office (CG Aux – 937-726-6572).

-- April 12: Ohio Boating Education (1 session, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $5) at Gander Mountain, Huber Heights (Division of Watercraft – 937-323-1582).

-- May 3: About Boating Safety (1 8-hour session, $25) at Hamilton Boat Club (CG Aux – 513-382-1007).

-- May 3: Ohio Boater Education (1 session, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. $5) at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center, Waynesville (Division of Watercraft – 937-323-1582).

-- May 10: About Boating Safety (1 8-hour session, $40 includes lunch) Indian Lake Moundwood Ramp (CG Aux – 937-726-6572).

Licenses on sale: Ohio’s 2014-2015 fishing, hunting and trapping licenses went on sale on Feb. 22. They are valid through Feb. 28, 2015. Deer and fall wild turkey hunting permits will go on sale later in 2014. For more information, visit wildohio.com.

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