16 December 2010

Rescue 17 Gets Its First Resuce.

Thursday, 16 December the Portland Fire's newest boat, the Elden Trinity (Rescue 17) which had been in service for only 2 hours responded to its first call. Around 7:00 P.M. a Christmas Ship that was getting underway from River Place Marina caught fire at the pier. Rescue 17 was on scene with in 7 minutes of the call and had the flames under control within a couple of minutes.

It sounds like a leaking fuel line from the tank to the generator which powers the exterior Christmas lights may have been the cause of the fire. The investigation is still underway.

A BRAVO, ZULU to the Portland Fire's newest boat the Elden Trinity and her crew.

27 November 2010

Change of Watch Uniform Preperation for the Tropical Blue Long.

Here are some tips to help prep your Tropical Blue Uniform to give it a more formal look for those members who don’t own Winter Dress Blue or Service Dress Blue uniforms. In this article, we will look at pressing your uniform, adding military creases, and tricks for installing your attachments.


Step 1. Pressing the Shirt.

a. Iron with steam and let cool.

b. Starch with no steam to get wrinkles out (do a panel at a time).

c. The Yoke (figure 1) will need two be starched twice at this step as well as the epilates and collar. This will not be starched later and will help pop your military creases on the back.

Step 2. Adding the military crease to the front on the shirt.

a. The crease will run right through the shirt pocket button. Measure this distance from the edge of the shirt to the button (see figure 2) This will be the distance from the top to the bottom of the shirt.

b. With no steam very lightly press the crease from the button down to the bottom of shirt.

c. If you feel the crease is right, press with steam.

d. Now starch and iron twice to set the crease.

e. With no steam very lightly press the crease from the button up to the top of shirt and repeat steps C and D.

f. Repeat step 2 for the other side.

Step 3. Sleeve creases.

a. Fold the sleeve in half with the seam at the bottom of the shirt.

b. Lightly crease the shirt with no steam.

c. If you feel the crease is right, press with steam.

d. Starch twice and flip the shirt and starch the backside twice.

e. Repeat steps A, B, C, and D for the other sleeve.


a. Fold the shirt in half to find where the middle crease will go. This step should be taken with care. This will make your creases straight or angled. (Align the side seams to get the straight crease). (See figure 4).

b. Once the middle is found, lightly crease with no steam.

c. Press middle crease with steam to set temporarily.

d. If you have a DVD case, you can use it to set the width of the other two creases along the back.

e. Use the DVD case width to find your crease and slowly press the crease with the dry iron.

f. Press side crease with steam.

g. Repeat steps E and F for other side crease.

h. Start from one side and starch each side of the crease twice.

i. Work your way to the middle and then the other side by following step H.

Now your shirt is squared away and you’re ready to install your attachments.


Set you’re ironing table up with a towel folded a couple of times laid on top. Have some white cardboard, a pair of scissors and a ruler (I like to use a clear ruler).

Cardboard will be used behind the attachments to suck them to the shirt which will stop the drooping appearance. A good starching job to the shirt helps keep this from happening as well.

Step 1. Nametag (If you have an AUXOP device follow step 2)

a. First cut a piece of cardboard the same size as your nametag and set aside.

b. A quick method of finding the general area is to align the name’s middle letter (JAMES would be “m”) with the crease and place your name tag so the clutch posts are parallel with your uniform and the bottom of the name tag is against the top of the pocket. (Clutches pointing towards the top of your shirt).

c. Roll the name tag and push the clutch posts through the shirt. This should be close to the ¼ inch spacing from the top of the pocket.

d. Now fine tune the spacing with the ruler.

e. Place the cardboard piece you cut earlier inside of the shirt and align with your name tag and push the clutch posts through the cardboard and secure the clutches to the posts.

f. Check for alignment.

Step 2. Ribbons and Insignia/devise (if you only have ribbons, follow steps A through F of step 1)

a. Start with your ribbons and follow steps B, C, and D of step 1.

b. If you have any other insignia/devise follow steps B, C, and D of step 1 using the ribbons like you would the top of the shirt pocket.

c. This step is a little trickier then with your name tag. Take a piece of cardboard (this piece should be white) and place on top of your ribbons and device. Cut cardboard to the general size and then attach like step E and trim as necessary.

d. Once cut to size, attach clutches and check for alignment.(See Figure 5)

I hope these steps will help you ready you’re uniform for the Change of Watch. If you have any questions about getting your uniform ready or any general uniform question, please send me an email.

20 November 2010

A Winterization Reminder.

A friendly reminder that its getting cold and we need to check that our cars, boats, and houses are ready for the deep freeze. Here are some things to check for.

Tips for your home.

1) Furnace Inspection

2) Check Fireplace For Proper Operation

3) Inspect Roof, Gutters & Downspouts

4) Prevent Plumbing Freezes

5) Prepare Landscaping & Outdoor Surfaces

6) Prepare an Emergency Kit

7) Install Crawl Space Vent Covers and Water Spout Covers.

Tips For Your Car.

1) Install new wiper blades.

2) Have your cooling system checked. (A bad thermostat or improper antifreeze level can harm your engine)

3) Have your battery checked. (A battery 4 1/2 years old should be replaced)

4) Check your tire pressure. (
Tires may become low as the temperature drops)

5) Make sure the tires are in good condition. If you are not sure what this means, ask a mechanic.

6) Check the lights, heater and defroster.

7) Keep the fuel tank as full as possible to keep moisture from freezing in the fuel lines.

8) Get a break check done if you haven't had one done in the last 6 months. (A lot of shops offer free break checks)

Put together an emergency winter kit for the trunk of your car: blanket, extra boots and gloves, ice scraper, small snow shovel, flashlight and kitty litter (for traction when stuck in the snow).

10) Check that your traction chains or cables are in good condition. Practice installing chains in your driveway before the snow hits to refresh your memory on installation.

Tips For Your Boat.

1) Engine(s)
  • Change the oil.(Warm engine first to help the flow of oil and particulates)
  • Remove spark plugs and use fogging oil in each cylinder.
  • Open all water drains and allow to drain. (There are different methods for various motors. Check owners manual)
  • Take a shop rag and wipe down the motor with fogging oil.
2) Stern Drive(s)
  • Inspect stern drive for and remove plant life.
  • Drain the gear case and check for excessive moisture. (This could indicate leaking seals and would need repairs done)
  • Check all boots for cracks and holes. (Drive should be stored in the down position. This will keep from stretching and wearing out the boot)
  • Grease all fittings and check fluid in the power steering and trim/trailering pumps.
  • Check owners manual for further steps.
3) Fuel
  • Fill tanks as full as possible. (This will help avoid condensation buildup)
  • Add a fuel stabilizer by following the instructions on the bottle.
  • Change the fuel filter and water separator.
  • Watch out for hi level Ethanol fuels. Ethanol adsorbs water and storage over time will harm your fuel system.
4) Bilges
  • Clean and dry bilges.
  • Spray with moisture displacing lubricant and add a little antifreeze to keep any water from freezing. (Drain antifreeze from bilge into an appropriate container)
5) Other Steps
  • Remove any equipment not needed while in storage. (PFDs, Electronics, FDSs, Fire Extinguishers, Fender and Lines)
  • Open all Cabinets and Drawers.
  • Appliances ready for long storage.
  • E-Z Dry or heaters.
  • Remove Battery and trickle charge or charge every 30 days.
I hope this helps you in your winterizing efforts this year. This is by no means a complete list or an appropriate list for you house, car or boat. These are just generality's and you should seek professional help when tackling jobs you don't feel comfortable doing.

A quote from our Division Commander, Daren Lewis.
"Be safe and look to the safety of your shipmates."

13 October 2010

Save the Date: 19 DEC 2010 Change of Watch

Flotilla 76 will hold our Change of Watch on 19 DEC 2010 at the Water Pollution Control Labs to coincide with the Christmas Ships parade. The event will start at 1700hrs (5pm). Uniform is Winter Dress Blue, Tropical Blue or appropriate civilian attire. Catering will once again be managed by Gary & the Admiral. More details to come as the event draws near.

22 September 2010

Flotilla Picnic @ Columbia Park

On August 22nd, around 40 Flotilla 76 members and friends gathered at Columbia Park in North Portland.  It was a great opportunity for fun and fellowship. Gary Bell and his wife Candy did an excellent job catering the food. Even though it poured rain for a short time, that did not dampen our spirits. 

There was a dessert contest and Barbara Korsmo's layered fruit bowl was judged the winner.  The pineapple upsidedown cake was my favorite.

Laura Walters spearheaded a game of Aux Jeopardy, with most everyone contributing questions. Gary Nepple won the game, answering the most questions correctly. The knot tying team competition was entertaining.  Three teams of three competed to see who could tie the called-for knot the fastest.  First person would tie the knot, pass it on to the second, who would untie the knot and passed it on to the third person, who would re-tie the knot and throw it down. The team of Tighe Vroman, Andy Rusten and John Poulson winning that event.

Those of you who did not attend, missed a great time of Food, Fun & Fellowship.
For more photos go to:   [photos courtesy of Laura Walters & Andy Rusten]

20 September 2010

Multnomah County ARES Exercise

Members, we have an opportunity to participate in the Multnomah County ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) exercise on 09 Oct. 2010. This event will exercise the use of HAMS and the amateur radio bands in the event of an emergency. The participants will include, city and county emergency services and first responders.

We will be participating with the use of our ECP (Emergency Command Post) on top of Mt. Tabor. We will be on the air from 0800 to 1300 (last known time). Operations will include the Marine VHF-FM, Amateur-2 meter, Amateur HF, and possibly trying to call COMSPAC (USCG Communications Area Master Station Pacific) on HF.

If you are planning to participate in the communications exercise 16 Oct., with your ACU but would like to get some hands on use of the ECP, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

If you would like to participate, please contact our FSO-CM Paul Ploeger. He will be in contact with the event officer, Jim Price and will forward any updates to you.

Depending on interest for this event, we may need to set up a schedule to allow members to participate without overcrowding the ECP.

Posted for FSO-CM Paul Ploeger, picture by Daren Lewis

14 September 2010

Changes to Ops & Position.

Shipmates, we have a new change with our ops and position reports to Station Portland. Up until now Statute miles was our means of identifying our location when giving our ops and position report. We have now been asked by station to identify our location by using landmarks or geographical location when making our reports. By doing this it allows us to streamline our operations with the goldside who have been using this method throughout the nation. It also allows the station's watchstander to better task us when SAR cases arise. Station trains using landmarks and therefore has a better understanding of our position when using landmarks for references.

I know this is going to be hard for some to change to this new method of reporting being this is how we have done it for years, but we have to make the best of it. I know we will help each other out as a team. I would like to remind members that correcting this new change should be done via land line. The radio is not the place to inform or remind members of the change.

Another allowable method of location can be LAT. & LONG. Use this when you are unsure of any landmarks or your geographical location. You will notice this is the method that the aircraft use.

Let us take a look at the old method of ops and position and then the new.

STATION: AUX123, this is Station Portland on 83A, request ops and position, over.
AUX: Station, AUX123, ops normal, down bound, Columbia River mile 109, over.

The new method of reporting would be.

STATION: AUX123, this is Station Portland on 83A request ops and position, over.
AUX: Station, AUX123, ops normal, down bound, position, 42nd Street Boat Ramp, over.

I will have a new radio script out in the next week or two with the changes. In the meantime, please see that you make the changes to your current script.

If you have any questions about this change, please contact FSO-CM Paul Ploeger or SO-CM Jonathan James. We are both happy to help you through this transition and to answer any of your question.

Add Image

12 August 2010

Flotilla 76 Picnic at Columbia Park


Whom: Flotilla 76 members, alumni, families, friends and distinguished guests

What: Flotilla 76 Annual Picnic

When: SUNDAY, August 22, 2010 – 11:00 ‘til ? Catering served from 1:00 until about 4:00

Where: Latitude: 45 degrees/ 34 minutes/ 41.73 seconds North,

Longitude: 122 degrees/ 42 minutes/ 40.98 seconds West

Columbia Park, Area G (near N. Lombard and N Woolsey)

This is a huge and gorgeously maintained park in residential north Portland. It does not have a dedicated parking lot, but it is surrounded by residential streets. It is filled with giant trees which heavily shade the green velvet lawns, has a large ballfield, tennis courts, a horseshoe pitch, a gigantic playground and an indoor swimming pool. This is the pool we used for Boat Crew/Coxswain Academy PPE swim test last winter. Site G is close to the street and conveniently close to the restrooms.

Folks who call Gary Bell (at 503 987 1173, voice mail – leave your name, phone and number of hungry guests) by Tuesday August 17 can order Savortooth Catering for $8.00 each, which will include:

Traeger BBQ chicken quarters,
Red potato and bacon salad,
Italian pasta salad
Corn-sickles with melted butter or chipotle-lime mayonnaise
BBQ beans
Iced tea
Disposable plates, cups, utensils and napkins will be provided of course.

NOTE: At that price we won’t be able to make a huge amount of extra food for undecided folks, so if you want to come through the catering line, PLEASE call us by August 17! (I will make a little extra for unexpected guests, but I won't tell you how much, so try to get your RSVP in, and before the 17th when I finalize my food order is best).

You can pay for the catering at the picnic.

Of course you can bring your own food too!!

Everyone is encouraged to BRING Picnic Appetizers, Assorted Munchies and/or Fabulous Desserts TO SHARE. Gary’s catering partner (and wife) ADMIRAL CANDY will judge any appetizer and dessert entries you’d care to submit – the winning family will get a custom dinner cruise on their power catamaran Stray Cat.

Beverages: BRING YOUR OWN. Please be discrete with adult beverages and no table dancing or fist fights.

Speaking of tables, there are TEN picnic tables at our site.

Of course if you want to fit out a family spot on the lawn you will need to bring your own lawn hairs, blankets, coolers and the like.

HELP! We need a little help. Can we get a couple of volunteers to organize adult and kid activities and games and someone with a pickup truck to fetch the chicken from West Linn?

Uniform is strictly civilian clothes. This is a public park, so clothing is required at all times.

We will leave the grounds in perfect order. Garbage cans and bags will be available. Families are encouraged to dispose of their own trash, relieving ADMIRAL CANDY of the need to pay for quite as much trash at the St. Johns Garbage Transfer Site.

20 July 2010

Help wanted: Columbia Slough Regatta Sunday 25July2010

Jon James is heading up our participation in the Columbia Slough Regatta this upcoming Sunday and he is looking for 2-3 members to assist. This is a great opportunity to perform vessel exams, distribute paddle smart stickers, and carry the boating safety message to this community of high risk, often novice boaters. All members are welcome and encouraged to assist.
Hello! The heat has arrived, and you know what that means: it’s time for our annual Columbia Slough Regatta! This year marks the 16th anniversary of this fun paddling festival that draws over 400 community members to celebrate the Slough. The Regatta will be held on Sunday, July 25th, from 9am to 1pm at the Multnomah County Drainage District at 1880 NE Elrod Dr in Portland. 
If you can assist please contact Jon. His contact info is in the directory.


12 June 2010

June Flotilla Meeting Photos

Here are a few photos from our June Flotilla meeting. It was great to see Wes and Elisabeth sworn in as our newest members. Congratulations to all of our members who received recognition.

[If you do not see the slideshow please visit the blog site. Will not show on iPhone/iPad/iTouch - visit]

Warm regards, Daren

01 June 2010

Be Aware of Health Risk due to Algae Bloom

Oregon Public Health officials urge awareness about algae bloom season

Memorial Day weekend may bring more people in contact with harmful blooms

“As folks head out for the holiday weekend and throughout the summer, we want people who use Oregon’s lakes, reservoirs and other fresh waters for recreation to enjoy these areas, but to take precautions if they see an algae bloom,” said Jennifer Ketterman, coordinator of the Oregon Public Health Harmful Algae Bloom Surveillance (HABS) program. “We advise people to avoid swallowing or inhaling water droplets from algae-affected water and to avoid skin contact.”

Last year Oregon Public Health issued 21 health advisories due to cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, because of the potential for exposure to toxins. This was an increase over 2008, when 14 health advisories for harmful algae blooms were issued. Also, in 2009 Oregon recorded its first confirmed dog death due to algae toxin in water near the confluence of Elk Creek and the Umpqua River in Douglas County.

Not all algae are dangerous, but some species can produce toxins that pose a health threat to people and animals that come in contact with them, according to Ketterman.

Skin irritation or rash is the most commonly reported health effect. Symptoms could also include diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, fainting, numbness, dizziness and paralysis.

Children and pets are most vulnerable, and dogs can fall ill almost immediately after ingesting waters affected by toxic algae.

The HABS program relies on agencies that manage water bodies — such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Forest Service, along with other federal and state agencies — to alert it when a potentially toxic bloom has been detected. When water tests confirm that a toxic species is present in a lake at a magnitude that constitutes a health threat, Oregon Public Health issues a health advisory and various community and state partners post signs at the affected water body.

“Because only a fraction of Oregon’s waters are routinely monitored for algae blooms, we advise people to be watchful when they are exploring the great outdoors,” Ketterman said. “If waters are scummy or cloudy and blue-green, bright green, white or brownish-colored, treat them as potentially contaminated and stay out. It is especially important to keep children and pets from going into questionable water.”

Ketterman reminds people that if they arrive at a lake and find an algae bloom in progress, they can still enjoy activities that don’t involve water contact, such as camping, picnicking, hiking and bird watching.
Blooms are most prevalent during the summer months, but they can occur any time of the year. In 2009, Oregon Public Health issued the first algae bloom health advisory of the season on May 21 and lifted the final advisory on Nov. 30.

The HABS program is funded through a federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Program objectives include collecting reports of harmful algae bloom occurrences, as well as human and animal sickness; notifying the public when a harmful bloom is underway; and increasing public awareness through education and outreach activities.

More information on harmful algae blooms — including what to look for, listing of previous locations with algae blooms and information about how to stay informed — can be found at or by calling 971-673-0440.
Media contact: Christine Stone, 971-673-1282, office; 503-602-8027, cell;
[Submitted by Murrianna Thomson FL 76]

31 May 2010

Flotilla Ramp Day @ Cathedral Park

On Saturday, Chris Roosevelt headed up our first VE Ramp Day at Cathedral Park. Six members showed up which included Chris Roosevelt, Paul Ploeger, Murrianna Thomson, Matt and Diane Epstein, and a new member Laura Walters.

With the mentorship of Chris and Diane, Murrianna was able to get her initial five Vessel Safety Checks done to qualify as a Vessel Examiner. Laura observed two VSC's to start her qualification. The boat traffic was fairly steady
[Murrianna observing Paul]
and during the six hours we were there, around 20 VSC's were done.

[ Matt Epstein]

This was an excellent opportunity for the less experienced VE's to learn from some of us who have done hundreds of Vessel Safety Checks. Studying from a book and taking a test is just the start for becoming a Vessel Examiner. It takes time to learn all the different systems of a boat and different types of equipment that may be on a 40 + foot yacht. What you would encounter on a 16 ft. open fishing boat is much simpler than what you see on 46 ft. cabin cruiser.

Being a Vessel Examiner is a great way to teach boaters about Boating Safety. Most of the boaters we encountered Saturday were glad to have the VSC. Only two said No. A couple boaters had trouble getting their lights to work; one was getting frustrated with the white light stick not working. I suggested he check the bulb so when he took the cover off and touched the bulb it came on. He was grateful for my suggestion. Another boater, who had a 28 ft. cabin cruiser, needed a MARPOL trash sticker to meet the VSC requirement. Since I keep a supply of those, I handed him one and he thanked me. It is little things like this that give a good impression of the individual as well as the Coast Guard as a whole.

Diane Epstein FSO-PB

Station Portland Responded to Grounding

ASTORIA, Ore. — The Coast Guard responded to a 648-foot container ship aground in the Columbia River near Kalama, Wash., Sunday.
Sector Portland, Ore., received a call at 1:30 p.m. stating the Pacific Flores had run aground on its port bow due to a steering casualty.
Station Portland, Ore., diverted a 25-foot response boat to the scene.
Two tug boats are on scene and have refloated the vessel.
The ship holds 600 tons of fuel, however all forward tanks have been sounded and show no sign of leaking.
No injuries have been reported and the vessel will remain at anchor in Kalama until the Coast Guard and the Washington Department of Ecology have completed their investigation.
[May 23rd, 2010 by cgnews.] Submitted by Jonathan Polimeni.

13 May 2010

Public Affairs Opportunity: May 22 - Columbia Crossing


Josh Sharkey, FL76, has taken the lead on a Public Affairs event on 22MAY2010 and is looking for some assistance. There will be a Station Portland crew with an RBS-S to work with.
Columbia Crossing PA Event. Saturday May 22nd in the old Zupans parking lot across from Safeway on Jantzen Beach.
Set up starts at 0800 and there is a free pancake breakfast for those working the event at 0930. Event runs from 1100 to 1600.
I am in need of at least two more people to work alongside the active duty crew that will be in attendance and I am still looking for a trailer-able facility to be on display.
You can find Josh's contact information in the Division directory - or email me and I will forward your email. Should be a fun event!

16 April 2010

Election of our New Flotilla Commander

I would like to congratulate John Poulson on becoming our new Flotilla Commander. He has been in the Auxiliary about five years and has done an excellent job as FSO-PS (now Human Resources) With his "people skills" he has the ability to lead and direct our flotilla in a positive direction. Please join me in giving John our complete support and constructive help as he takes on this new role. Flotilla 76 has grown to almost 70 members which brings a new set of challenges. After speaking with John I know he is excited about continuing the groundwork Daren Lewis had started and also getting more of our members involved in programs such as Vessel Exams, Program Visitor, and Public Education, to name a few. John has set up a mentoring program for our new members that helps insure they get the right information and stay "engaged" and active in our flotilla. Thank you John, for stepping up and setting a good example. We look forward to a prosperous year.

Please check back often for up-to-date info on this blog. I am in the process of setting up a Flotilla 76 Calendar. If you know of events that should be included, please send it to me.

Diane Epstein, FSO-PB

15 April 2010

Using the Auxiliary Officer Directory to look up contact and qualification information on any member

As mentioned at our April Flotilla meeting you can use the Auxiliary Officer Directory to look up contact information for any member. The system also lists current qualifications.

Last month I did a brief tutorial on the Auxiliary Officer Directory for the Division 7 blog. You can see the post here:

The Auxiliary Officer Directory can be found here:

This resource uses the same password you use to access the eDirectory and ShopAuxiliary.

25 March 2010

YOUR COMMUNICATIONS "IMAGE" (And What it Implies about Your Capabilities)

Coast Guard SAR controllers are sometimes hesitant about assigning an unfamiliar Auxiliary boat (OPFAC) to a case. They may know very little about the operational characteristics and capabilities of the OPFAC to which they are talking. Up to date facility characteristic reports are not always readily available to those who need them the most, the duty SAR controllers.

"The training, experience, initiative
and judgment factors vary widely
among Auxiliarists"

Importantly, Coast Guard controllers have to consider other non-uniformity issues with respect to OPFAC and crews. Here we refer not to the vessels or its hardware, but to the training, experience, initiative and judgment of its skipper and crew. The Auxiliary's Boat Crew Qualification Program has gone a long way towards standardizing the training factor in the above list of personnel related concerns. But the experience, initiative and judgment factors remain highly variable among Auxiliary coxswains and crew members. This is only to be expected whenever the minimum annual requirement of a qualification is set so low.

"Like it or not, the image you present
through your comms is often the only
thing Coast Guard controllers can use
to sizeup your capabilities."

Why is that? Well, under normal circumstances, they will never see Brian Rollins' OPFAC or John Pulson's OPFAC to see that they are squared away OPFACs.
They won't get a chance to see that your crew members are sharply attired in their required uniforms and PPE, and that all members are in the same uniform.

In many cases, their entire impression on the capabilities of your vessel and crew will be made on the basis of how you sound over the radio!


Are communications form your vessel transmitted in a crisp, professional manner? Are prowords used correctly and appropriately? Are your comms brief and business like, or long-winded and imprecise? Dose the Coast Guard communicator have to interrogate your communicator to get important information? Or are you one step ahead of them, sending essential SAR data just when it's needed?

Have you ever wondered how SAR controllers decide, among multiple patrolling OPFACs, who should get a case? Ever felt that you were cheated out of a case, or otherwise overlooked, despite being closer to the scene? Certainly many factors effect these decisions. I would not suggest that the image conveyed through your communications it the SOLE determinant in such cases. BUT it IS a factor, and it IS often used to form an estimate of an OPFAC capabilities, rightly or wrongly.

"What would lead (the Coast Guard)
to conclude that your navigating, boat
handling or rescue skills are any better
than your communicating proficiency?"

If a communicator stumbles through the assuming patrol message, fail to handle Ops and Position reports correctly, shifts to wrong channels, uses prowords incorrectly or not at all, can't spell with the standard phonetic alphabet or has trouble operating the radio's functions, just how prepared do you think the Coast Guard feels your boat is? What would lead them to conclude that your navigating, boat handling or rescue skills are any better than the most simple job of proficient radio comms?

Like it or not, the image you present through your boat's communications is often the only thing Coast Guard controllers can use to size up capabilities and preparedness.

If your "COMMS" are concise and succinct, transmitted on the correct working channels, answering promptly and professionally, and otherwise handled effectively, you convey the impression of a knowledgeable SAR resource, trained and experienced to handle most anything assigned to you.

If, on the other had, your comms are long and ponderous, not to the point, initiated on the wrong channels, botched by sloppy technique or inappropriate prowords, burdened by extraneous information, or otherwise substandard, they suggest that you're really not "all together" out there, and SAR controllers may very well want to think twice before steering a case your way.

You may feel that your boat doesn't have these problems.


Why not take a minute to rate your boat's comms after examining the following list:

1. Communicators who consistently precede every transmission with their full call sign.
2. Communicators who include the "Eyewitness News Report," in their Ops & Position reports.
3. Calling the Station Pier, Sector Dock or names "other" then Station Pier.
4. Communicators who need coaching with the mic keyed up. You hear the coxswains voice in
5. Not saying correction when a mistake is made. Saying sorry is not proper radio procedure.
6. Communicators who pause multiple times in a report due to not knowing what needs to be said before key the mic.
7. Calling Auxcom, "OPSCON" or "OPSCOM"
8. Talking to the controller with a tone of voice that make them feel intrusive.

Remember we can always perform better when it comes to radio procedures. I ask that you read the Comms chapter in the BCASM man. to refresh yourself before the beginning of the patrol season.

Honor, Respect, and Devotion to duty.

22 March 2010


Shipmates, I would like to explain more detailed what AIMS is all about. I am still working with the program and find new things all the time.

What is the Auxiliary Incident Management System?

The Auxiliary Incident Management System (AIMS) is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) web-based Emergency Notification System (ENS) for Auxiliary leadership to rapidly and easily reach members for both routine and emergency communications.
Our ENS vendor, Everbridge, is the leading provider of ENS systems in the world and the platform is deployed in more than 100 countries. The platform is in use by multiple federal, state and local government agencies, including multiple DOD and DHS departments. System security has been fully vetted by the USCG, USCG Auxiliary, DOD and DHS, as well as leading worldwide financial institutes.

Accelerate Response

Communication plays a critical role before, during, and following an incident. The Auxiliary Incident Management System (AIMS) provides quick and reliable communication capabilities that rapidly and reliably disseminate critical information and instructions, improve operational effectiveness, and ensure lifesafety.

Improve response times and coordination Efforts

Streamline and accelerate member mobilization, deployment, and on-the-ground coordination with efficient and accurate outreach capabilities. One person can communicate with tens, hundreds, or thousands of people anywhere, anytime, and via any communication method, including phone (land line, mobile, and satellite), email, instant messaging, SMS text messaging, fax, BlackBerry, PDA, pager. The AIMS Emergency Notification System automatically cycles through all USCG Auxiliary Department of Response specified communication devices, reducing the time it takes to get critical messages to the right people while freeing up staff to manage other critical tasks before, during, and after an incident.

Reduce Risk During Crises

AIMS provides the critical communication infrastructure necessary for responding to both routine and emergency incidents. AIMS significantly minimizes the risk of human error with an automated notification solution that systematically delivers clear, consistent messages to recipients on all communication devices and escalates the message as required. Access AIMS from your desktop, laptop, smart device, or by calling the 24/7 Everbridge Live Operator.

Keep Members on Task

Obsolete phone trees and calling lists divert usable manpower from planning or executing tasks and ties up critical communications infrastructure. AIMS automates deployment of assets, emergency notifications, and standard information dissemination by automating manual processes thereby freeing up staff to focus on more important tasking.

Maximize communication Channels.

AIMS delivers messages across all communication platforms, cycling through communication devices until the message is delivered. AIMS provides two way communications through the polling and quota messaging functionality.

Real Time Reporting

Real-time broadcast results give message senders full visibility into which communications paths are operable and receiving messages and which are not. The robust reporting functionality allows the Chain of Leadership to quickly and easily account for member life-safety as required by the Commandant.

I hope this helps you understand what AIMS is all about. One BIG issue with AIMS is that it seems to be accepted as SPAM. If you want to see that you get an AIMS message you must accept this email to be recived in your mailbox.

17 March 2010

2010 Make Way Ramp Education Kickoff on Friday and Saturday

FL76 Shipmates - Another cross post from

I know a few of you are getting these twice (once from and once from so I'll try to only repost the most important items).

On Friday 19MAR and Saturday 20MAR we will be kicking off our 2010 Make Way Education efforts with a presence at ramps and other selected locations around the region. Thank you to all who have signed up to assist with one or both days.

We've been conducting the on-the-water Make Way mission for a number of weeks and this is a great opportunity to get more of our members involved and educate our fellow boaters before they get underway.

While this is a mission some of us have done for years it may be new to others. To help members understand the issues and to promote consistency in our message I have prepared a mission job aids. I encourage all participants to review the job aid and provide feedback based on your prior experience and what you learn over this two morning effort. Feedback on the job aid approach is also welcome - we are looking at developing these for other local topics like invasive species awareness and cold water awareness.


[This document is uploaded to Scribd - if it does not display please visit:]
To download or print the document please visit the following link: here

The materials we have are described in the job aid.

There are currently materials for Make Way in the Auxiliary office at Sector Portland. Please be aware the supply is limited and only take as many flyers as you think you will use in these two days. Please coordinate with fellow participants at your ramp to assure you are not doubling up on supplies. We are working on re-supply but have not yet received materials. Unless you know traffic will be heavy please limit what you take to 50 flyers or packets per ramp per day. If there is no supply remaining, or if you take the last of the materials, please call or email me immediately and we will work to get you what you need.

Vessel Exams:
While this is not a VE focused operation VEs are welcome and encouraged to do VEs as time and conditions permit. Please focus on maximizing the quantity and quality of contacts which carry the Make Way message. Doing VEs, particularly if someone else is passing out flyers and having brief conversations may be the most effective approach for those particular boaters.

I would appreciate feedback as to where you were, what times, the number of contacts, the number of flyers distributed and any lessons learned via your FC with a cc to me: We will be reporting the results to the Sector Commander. This is a mission which can be reported as public affairs on your 7030.

Please work in teams, this is a great opportunity to bring along a newer member. Please wear life jackets for flotation, visibility and to show responsible boating behavior. Per our standard practice life jackets are required if you will be on the dock.

The ramp work was organized by the Flotillas - please make sure your FC, VFC or designated officer knows you are going out to assure proper assignment to duty and therefore liability coverage. Should you need proper assignment to duty the Division leadership would be happy to assist by providing it via email.

Be safe out there and look to the safety of your shipmates.

Thank you for your service,

16 March 2010

Division Directory update and a video tutorial on [via]

FL76 Shipmates - here is a post I've just also posted on, V/r Daren

Many of you will be glad to know that our 2010 Member Directory has been sent to the GPO for printing. Based on the number of inquires I've received I know this is a much awaited publication. Having member information, facility information and all the general information contained in the Directory readily at hand makes us more effective as Flotillas and as a Division. A very big thank you is owed to Carol for her work on the Directory - it represents hundreds of hours of work to check the entries, make updates, manage changes and produce.

Bravo Zulu!

We do not yet have an ETA on when we'll see the 2010 edition. In the meantime much of the member contact, qualifications, and officer list information is now easily available online at:

This resource uses the same password you use to access the eDirectory and ShopAuxiliary.

I've prepared a brief introductory video tutorial that shows the basic features of

Please remember all member directory information, online or printed, is to be used for official Auxiliary purposes and should be treated with care. Just as we look to the safety of our shipmates while operating we also owe them the security of their contact information and personal details.

This post contains video content in HD - high quality playback options can be found in the player. If you cannot view the video content in this post please visit:

11 March 2010

My Name is Diane Epstein

Hello Fellow '76ers:

Since I am new to this flotilla, I thought I would introduce myself and write a brief background. I am a true Oregonian--born and raised. After graduating from Clark College in Vancouver, WA with an Associate Degree in Medical Secretary I worked for a Chiropractor for a while. Then I decided to broaden my skills and worked for several temporary agencies in the clerical field for about 2 years, then landed a job as a Data Entry Clerk for a firm downtown Portland. After seven years, I wanted something more so I went back to school and took computer classes and a Court Reporting course.

My parents had joined this group called the "Coast Guard Auxiliary" in 1987 and my mother had suggested several times that I should join too. "It would be good for you to meet other people", she said, but I said, "no, that's not for me. Too many old people" Well, I attended Auxiliary functions from time to time while my mother, Milli Schaber was Division Secretary in the early '90's. While attending the 1995 Division 7 Change of Watch I met an interesting man named Mathew Epstein, who, I found out later had crewed on my parents OPFAC several times. I asked Matt out on our first date and he proposed on my birthday in January and we were married on June 30th, 1996.

Since my new husband was really involved with the Auxiliary, I decided to join too. That turned out to be a very good thing. My first position was flotilla secretary. I was so shy then. I was so nervous when I had to call the roll and read back the minutes from the previous meeting that my voice quivered. But, gradually, I grew out of my shyness.

I attended a VE qualification course in Seattle, Wash. and received my VE qualification and under Gil Gatlin's mentorship and some others, I earned my Crew status in 1998. I served as Vice Flotilla Commander of Flotilla 72 in Milwaukie as well as FSO-PE. In 2002 I was able to attend the AUX 04 C School in Oklahoma where I learned about how to design web pages and put together a Power Point Presentation. I was hooked. I became the first CS officer for FL 72 and put together a web site and managed it for 2 years.

When FL 72 dis-established, Matt & I transferred to Flotilla 7-12 in Hillsboro, where I became the Publications Officer and developed the Windbag newsletter into an electronic color format that could be e-mailed instead of a black & white hardcopy. In 2006 I was asked to take the Division Publications staff office and produce the "Daymark 7" newsletter.

Matt & I share our home with our two cats, Fritz and Rusty. I enjoy gardening and photography. Matt & I now work part-time as school bus drivers, which allows Matt to develop his pest extermination business and gives me more time to spend doing Auxiliary activities. I have made some great friends in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and look forward to being a productive member for years to come.

By Diane Epstein

Hello Shipmates:

I have volunteered to take over the management of this "Spirit of 76" blog to continue the fine work that Daren Lewis has started. I am excited about the possibilities this can offer our Flotilla. After discussion with the leaders of our flotilla and other members, it was decided that using this blog instead of going back to publishing a newsletter would better serve our members.

I would ask that you assist me in providing information that would be appropriate to post here for our members. Stay tuned for more info in the near future.

Diane Epstein, FSO-PB FL 76

18 January 2010

New Division Blog

Blog posts here on have been a bit sparse over the past month as I have been ramping up our new Division blog -

So what does this mean for the Flotilla blog? My intent is to continue to post Flotilla specific news as directed by our leadership Ron Marconi, FC and Tim Young, VFC. My general communications on issues relevant to the Auxiliary will mostly appear on the Division blog, with occasional reposts here for the most important items. 

There has always been, and remains, an open invitation to other members to contribute. The blog is an excellent way to talk about your work and the programs you manage. 

Division blog announcement:
A number of you are likely aware of the new Blog we've developed for the Division to highlight news, events and activity. Now that we have two weeks of content up on the blog I'd like to formally invite the membership to visit the site.
If you like what you see you can subscribe via email (see the right hand side for email subscription information) or by RSS feed if you use a feed reader (a tool we'll cover in an upcoming post).
I hope you find the blog a useful tool to find out what is happening in other Flotillas, the Division, the District and at "National".
If you have something to contribute, a topic, or a question you'd like to see answered on the blog please send me an email. 
Thank you for your service,
Daren Lewis

05 January 2010

Reporting your hours: A new 7029 for 2010

FL76 Shipmates,
This is cross posted from our new blog. If you have not already done so I suggest visit (and subscribe to) for all the latest news from our Division.

Note: This is video content - if it does not display please visit YouTube:

Over the weekend the Auxiliary announced a replacement for our ANSC 7029 form. This form is the catchall form for hours not reported in other places and often accounts for the majority of hours reported by members. But it isn’t the form that is important rather it is the change in philosophy form represents. Personally I’ve been less than satisfied having so many of the hours I contribute to the Coast Guard lumped as administrative – it simply did not represent the complexity and value of some of the work undertaken, be it leading my Flotilla or studying to pass Navigation Rules.

This work is now broken into 5 categories.
99-A Auxiliary Leadership
99-B Recreational Boating Safety Support
99-C Marine Safety Support
99-D Training Support
99-E Auxiliary Administrative and Logistical Support

These categories give the Auxiliary a much better understanding of how we spend our time and gives the Coast Guard much better data to use when seeking funding for our activities from the Executive branch and Congress. Perhaps more importantly, this approach will give you as a member a better understanding of how you use the time you contribute to the Auxiliary and the Coast Guard. In future you’ll be able to view your member record and see those 60 hours of class participation and study time it took to become crew qualified.

You can also list any non-reimbursed mileage and out of pocket expenses related to your Auxiliary activity.

The tradeoff could have been additional complexity in the record keeping… but the team on the National Staff did the opposite and simplified the reporting so you only report your total hours in each of the 5 categories rather than reporting each activity separately as on the previous form. This is a welcome focus meeting our organizational objectives while at the same time improving the member experience.

The leaders and staff responsible have my thanks, Bravo Zulu.

I encourage you to continue to track your time, by whatever method works for you. There is a second, optional page in the 7029 which looks similar to the old form. I have a simple alternate technique which I will share at some point in the near future.

As a Nation we are in a period where resources are tight. There is no better value to the Nation than the Coast Guard Auxiliary. We can’t prove that if you don’t submit your time.  It’s easier than ever. If you regularly turn in your 7029s please start using the new form for January. If you’ve gotten behind on your reporting please consider the New Year and the new 7029 as an opportunity to get started.

New member note: Most of your activities as a new member will be reported on this new 7029 form. All your meeting attendance, preparation of membership forms, ICS training, and working with your mentor will be reported here. Please be sure to discuss time reporting with your mentor, it is critical to assure we get financial support for the Auxiliary and to assure your contributions are recognized.

Visit for two useful versions of this form.
New 7029 - with instructions
New 7029 - without instructions (recommended after you have read and understood the instructions)

03 January 2010

Operational Excellence Award

Head on over to the Flotilla73 site and read FC Brian Rollins' excellent post on the Operational Excellence Award.

Brian has challenged his members to pursue this opportunity to demonstrate operational excellence. If you participate in surface operations please consider building a team to pursue this award.