Volunteers from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary based out of Fort Totten in Bayside embarked on a mission Sunday to support the 21st Annual Running of the Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition.
The crew of the Amigo IV from Bayside’s Flotilla 12-01 patrolled Flushing Bay and the East River before rendezvousing with the rest of the Coast Guard Auxiliary patrol group near the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.
The group’s mission was to shield the race path of lumbering tugboats from intruders. With red and amber lights flashing, the auxiliary vessels kept curious onlookers from getting too close and becoming casualties.
The race began south of the 79th Street Boat Basin and ended at Pier 84 near the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum on the Hudson River. The tugboats also engaged in a variety of other competitions which included head-to-head pushing and line tossing matches.
For the crew of the Amigo IV, it was just another day of volunteering to support maritime safety. With the help from the New York City Police and Fire departments, the auxiliary’s patrol boats kept the competition chugging along without major incident.
Nationwide, the members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer over two million hours a year and save an average of $341,290 in property and one life per day.
The Bayside auxiliary has about 65 members. It offers safe boating classes and vessel safety checks in additional to patrolling the waters. For information visit join.cgaux.org.
James Chin is a member of the Bayside Coast Guard auxiliary.