Coast Guard Station Ocracoke Announces Change

Friday, October 13, 2006
Coast Guard Station Ocracoke has been under review and recommended for seasonal operations effective on or about Nov. 30, 2006, with a recommendation to align with existing units, potentially closing it permanently at a later date. The Ocracoke crew responds to approximately 30 search and rescue cases per year with the majority of those occurring in the summer months. This is well below the Coast Guard standard or average of 220 that is used to justify similar stations elsewhere. Secondly, station infrastructure is in an acute state of disrepair and requires significant capital improvements. Studies dating back to 2002 recommend a new facility if the unit does not transition to seasonal operations, but due to questions of operational need, the project remains unfunded. The station crew is currently operating out of a 360 square foot single-wide office trailer on National Park Service property and a leased rental unit for duty crew berthing. Search and rescue operations will be assumed by three remaining Coast Guard Stations, Hatteras Inlet, Hobucken and Fort Macon, which are already responsible for Station Ocracoke's offshore area of responsibility. Stations Hobucken and Hatteras Inlet will absorb the Pamlico Sound area of responsibility. Resources from Air Station Elizabeth City are also available to provide immediate response to distress cases in Station Ocracoke's area of responsibility. These units can readily provide search and rescue response assets well within Coast Guard response standards. The Coast Guard has maintained a presence on the island steadily since the 1800s. Many residents have close ties to this part of their community and take great pride in local historic landmarks that preserve this legacy. Improvements in technology, resources and training allow the Coast Guard to respond faster and more efficiently from greater distances. The redundancy in response capabilities from Coast Guard air and surface assets to Station Ocracoke's area of responsibility support our decision to transition to seasonal operations at Coast Guard Station Ocracoke.
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