On a weekend that has been raw with patches of indecisive rain/snow, Tim and I have begun planning our summer boating trip. Our coastline is a beautiful place, its scenery varied and breathtaking. Danger is present, as well as beauty. Swirling currents, plenty of chunky bits just under the surface, strong tides and lots of marine traffic means that we need to know what we're doing out there on our little boat.
This morning, after church, we joined some friends at the Coast Guard Communications Centre for a tour. The centre overlooks the water, through the trees (and you can see patchy snow there, as well).
From this large room, with dozens of computer screens glowing, Coast Guard members monitor marine traffic. Radar sweeps across the screens, lights indicate the movement of large ships, ferries, tankers, and more.
While we were there, a call came in - a small (28 foot) pleasure craft had hit a log and was requesting a tow. Since it wasn't an emergency, other boats in the area responded.
Most lighthouses on our coasts are unmanned, functioning by solar-powered batteries. There are just 12 lighthouses manned by humans along the west coast. The Coast Guard checks in on them regularly by radio and by boat with supplies.
Things are fairly quiet on the water just now. Once the weather warms up and more pleasure craft head out, the traffic increases exponentially. Our friend, the tour guide, told us that calls come in about once every 20 seconds in the busy season.
Most calls are relatively uncomplicated, but emergency situations require immediate response, and often lives are saved by the quick action of the Coast Guard.
I'm glad they're listening to the radio, and ready to respond. It makes me feel just a wee bit safer out there on the water.
Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Maggie of Normandy Life.