About this blog
Auxiliarist.com is NOT an Official Site of the United States Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Auxiliarist.com is NOT an Official Site of the United States Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary.
When rain falls, some of the water ends up in lakes and rivers, some is used by plants, some evaporates back into the atmosphere, and some seeps through the ground into aquifers – large, natural underground water storage areas. This groundwater provides more than 40 percent of the U.S. population with drinking water. Not only does groundwater quench our thirst, but it is also important in protecting water quality and quantity in surface rivers and streams – during drier times, these waters are derived almost completely from groundwater supplies. In coastal areas, pumping too much water from aquifers can increase the amount of salt water entering groundwater supplies, sometimes making it undrinkable.
Auxiliarist Tip: Get Educated - March 9-15, 2014 is National Groundwater Awareness Week.
One of the easiest ways to protect groundwater supplies is to save water at home. Try these simple tips to save 30 gallons in one day:
"Groundwater awareness should be important to you!"
Now well into its second decade, Groundwater Awareness Week spotlights one of the world’s most important resources — groundwater.
Who should be “aware” of groundwater? Quite simply, everyone.
Groundwater is essential to the health and well-being of humanity and the environment. Whether you’re on a public water system or a private well, whether you are a health care official, policymaker, regulator, an environmentalist or a groundwater professional, you can get involved in protecting this vital resource.
A lot of flotillas have a monthly newsletter they mail or email to members and prospects as a way of keeping in touch. Once a month, the Flotilla Staff Officer for Publications (FSO-PB) sends an email blast out to the world and everyone gets the same, generic information. But does this approach actually generate leads for the Flotilla Staff Officer for Human Resources (FSO-HR)? A lot of publishers argue that newsletters are designed more for branding, but can’t they accomplish both?
If you don’t use a flotilla newsletter but think you need to have one, this article should save you from wasting a lot of time. Here’s the thing: newsletters are dead. In fact, recent my own (90-Day) research shows that less than 10% of the members of my own Coast Guard Auxiliary Division even open them. (15/164) There are several reasons for this:
Newsletters Are Boring
Most newsletters are self-promotional and contain mostly information about the Flotilla’s products, recent Auxiliary news, member success stories and other stuff that readers really don’t care about. We all know that people are always tuned into WII-FM (what’s in it for me?). Instead, why not send members and prospects interesting articles about marine industry trends, best practices they can use and resources that will help their business? In other words, stop talking about yourself.
Newsletters Aren’t Personalized
Are all your members exactly the same? If not, then why should they all get the same, generic newsletter? Only send people information that is relevant to their situation. Why not have different versions of your newsletter? Better yet, compile a list of articles and then let your “recruiters” people in Human Resources send their prospects the most relevant information. Of course, this requires that you know something about each member or prospect. You may discover that your database is the problem, not your newsletter.
Newsletters Don’t Build Relationships (or create leads)
Most newsletters are sent from the FSO-PB or someone else the prospect has never met. Shouldn’t the communication come from the FSO-HR or FSO-MT who has the relationship with the person? Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that people still buy from people—not from organizations or corporations.
If newsletters aren’t the answer, then what is? There are several better alternatives you should consider. Here is a short list:
1. Publish your newsletter as an online blog that visitors can search and comment on. If your flotilla doesn’t have a blog on your website, you’re missing out. Blogs are no longer a fad—they are the centerpiece of any good website and one of the best ways to create leads.
2. If you publish a lengthy newsletter (like some PB’s do), break it into smaller “mini newsletters” that your staff officers can email to people. Nobody has time to read a long newsletter no matter how good the content is. Instead of sending a monthly newsletter packed with information, it’s more effective to send smaller blogs and articles on a more frequent basis, like once every week.
3. Use a sequential autoresponder to automatically email your articles to people on an ongoing basis. Autoresponders will let you create a drip email campaign that you never need to manage.
4. Publish your newsletters and blogs on several of the “article directories’. Then have your respective Staff Officers email their members and prospects a link to the published article. When you’re published on other people’s websites it gives you a lot more credibility.
5. Consider using video, Podcasting and webinars to publish your content. Does your article contain photos or other visuals? Then why not create a YouTube or Google Video to spice it up? Once a quarter, announce a webinar on a hot topic. If you’re not familiar with the concept of Podcasting, think of it as an online radio broadcast that people can subscribe to. Best of all, any article could be a Podcast. Simply read the article into a microphone and then post the recording on several of the Podcast Directories.
In the beginning of this article, I announced that “newsletters are dead.” Perhaps they’re only changing into more dynamic versions because people are looking for something different. The question is: are you willing to change to meet the needs of your members and prospects?
(photo: Division Commander Jack Wood)
Wielding hedge clippers, rakes and weedeaters, volunteer members from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary went after a tangle of overgrowth, brush and trash along the left descending bank of the Cumberland River at the Port of Nashville boat dock.
According to the American Journal of Public Health, crime is higher on vacant properties because a neglected and disorderly physical environment signals to residents that prohibited behaviors are tolerated. Disorder in the physical environment is associated with crime because it sends a message that no one cares. This is the cycle we are working to break by reclaiming vacant lots and green spaces along waterways and transforming them into environmentally lush growing spaces.
The land and ramp are owned by Gaylord Entertainment and is located at the intersection of McGavock Pike and Pennington Bend Road near Opryland Hotel. Note: Law Enforcement, Fire and Emergency services only are allowed the use of the ramp for quick and unobstructed access to the Cumberland river.
On Saturday, March 8th active members from Coast Guard Auxiliary 11-04 cleared overgrowth and picked up and bagged trash at the site. The Auxiliary volunteered a day of service to clean up the community. They picked up trash, hauled out tires, cut back overgrowth at the boat ramp, dock and parking lot, mowed and trimmed around signs.
The results of the clean-up went way beyond improving the physical appearance of the parking area, boat ramp, dock and neighborhood. Removing litter and overgrowth beautifies the community, reduces criminal behavior, and gives residents pride, instead of fear, when walking down their street. According to the event coordinator Timm Meunier, “The Auxiliary was responsible for removing 8 trailer loads of overgrowth and trash from the area.”
Trash is everywhere these days. Plastic water bottles pile up near storm drains and behind fallen logs in our creeks. Old tires emerge from the depths as water levels decrease during winter months. Discarded plastic shopping bags crackle in the wind like flags as they cling to branches and fencing. All this debris flows into the Cumberland River and eventually, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
“It’s up to local residents and volunteer organizations to stop this river of refuse, and our Port of Nashville Clean-Up Day was an opportunity for our member to pitch in and do what we do best - work together as a TEAM.” –Timm Meunier Flotilla 11-04 Staff Officer - Marine Safety & Environmental Protection.
Getty Images has announced that a new embedding feature launched on its website today will make some 35 million images available for non-commercial use to anyone who wants them. That means bloggers—even ones that get revenue from Google ads—can use Getty’s trove of stock images free of charge.
“Innovation and disruption are the foundation of Getty Images, and we are excited to open up our vast and growing image collection for easy, legal sharing in a new way that benefits our content contributors and partners, and advances our core mission to enable a more visually-rich world,” said Jonathan Klein, co-founder and CEO of Getty Images, in a statement.
This move is in response to the rampant and illegal use of copyrighted images all over the Internet, from bloggers and other publishers who have neither the budget to buy photos nor a concept of copyright law and how they may be violating it with a simple right-click.
To mitigate this problem, Getty has embarked on a radical solution. Now, anyone can visit Getty’s content library, select an image they want, and copy an embed HTML code to use that image on their own websites.
Getty Images will serve the image in a YouTube-style embedded player, which will include full copyright information and a link back to the image’s dedicated licensing page on the Getty site.
This strategy solves several major problems: It assures proper image attribution, the images link back to the Getty site, and Getty can track where and how the images are being used.
While millions of images have been made available, some collections, such as the Reportage and Contour collections, are not included. Also, Getty says this new deal will not affect its existing license business and that it will continue to pursue existing infringement cases as usual.
And while nothing is in place at the moment, Getty reserves the right to profit from this deal in the form of advertising in the near future.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration is warning the public about criminals posing as DEA special agents or other law enforcement personnel as part of an international extortion scheme.
The criminals call the victims (who in most cases previously purchased drugs over the internet or by telephone) and identify themselves as DEA agents or law enforcement officials from other agencies. The impersonators inform their victims that purchasing drugs over the internet or by telephone is illegal, and that enforcement action will be taken against them unless they pay a fine. In most cases, the impersonators instruct their victims to pay the “fine” via wire transfer to a designated location, usually overseas. If victims refuse to send money, the impersonators often threaten to arrest them or search their property. Some victims who purchased their drugs using a credit card also reported fraudulent use of their credit cards.
Impersonating a federal agent is a violation of federal law. The public should be aware that no DEA agent will ever contact members of the public by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment.
The DEA reminds the public to use caution when purchasing controlled substance pharmaceuticals by telephone or through the Internet. It is illegal to purchase controlled substance pharmaceuticals online or by telephone unless very stringent requirements are met. And, all pharmacies that dispense controlled substance pharmaceuticals by means of the internet must be registered with DEA. By ordering any pharmaceutical medications online or by telephone from unknown entities, members of the public risk receiving unsafe, counterfeit, and/or ineffective drugs from criminals who operate outside the law. In addition, personal and financial information could be compromised.
Anyone receiving a telephone call from a person purporting to be a DEA special agent or other law enforcement official seeking money should refuse the demand and report the threat using the online form below. Please include all fields, including, most importantly, a call back number so that a DEA investigator can contact you for additional information. Online reporting will greatly assist DEA in investigating and stopping this criminal activity.
America’s Waterway Watch is a public outreach program encouraging participants to simply report suspicious activity to the Coast Guard and/or other law enforcement agencies. Unlike some Neighborhood Watch programs, for example, you are not formally joining an organization — there are no meetings, membership cards or membership requirements — and you do not become an agent of the Coast Guard or any other law enforcement agency.
If you are a tow boat operator, a recreational boater, a marina operator, or otherwise live, work or engage in recreational activity around America’s waterways, the United States Coast Guard wants your help in keeping these areas safe and secure. You can do this by participating in its America’s Waterway Watch (AWW) program, a nationwide initiative similar to the well known and successful Neighborhood Watch program that asks community members to report suspicious activities to local law enforcement agencies.
As a person who spends time on or near the water, you already know what is normal and what is not, and you are well suited to notice suspicious activities — activities possibly indicating threats to our nation’s homeland security. As participant in America’s Waterway Watch, we urge you to adopt a heightened sense of awareness toward unusual events or individuals you may encounter in or around ports, docks, marinas, riversides, beaches, or waterfront communities.
The Coast Guard Commandant Talks about AWW, Watch the Video.
USCG & USCGAUX Marine Safety and Environmental Protection
Resources Available on the Web USCG CG-5421 Web Site - MSEP Resources Available on the Web
The Trident Program
An Auxiliary Program for Direct Support and Augmentation
Marine Safety Training RibbonTrident Device
Above: Marine Safety Training Ribbon (MSTR)
The Trident Program
An Auxiliary Program for Direct Support and Augmentation
The Marine Safety Training Ribbon shown above is not a requirement for the Auxiliary Trident Program but all requirements to earn this award are required to be completed prior to applying for the actual Trident Award. All members interested in the Trident device or the Marine Safety Ribbon should review the new PQS standards.
Below is a list of the different courses required to earn the MSTR and start you on your way to Trident.
The first step/course in earning the MSTR/Trident is to complete the ICS courses listed below. This now includes ICS 210 or 300.
The below listed courses do not need to be done in any order, however going through the courses in order will help members to understand the program.
with the content you can go the National Testing Center to take this test.
Introduction to Marine Safety and Environmental Protection - This test is also an online (e course) the IMSEP Manual and the IMSEP test is available on the National Testing Center
Completion of Incident Command System (ICS210 or 300) Must be taught by USCG certified Instructors. (4 Hours) - or - Completion of Incident Command System NIMS Intermediate (ICS300) Must be taught by Coast Guard Certified Instructors (3 Days). Please remember that the ICS 100,200,700,800 as listed above are also required.
Marine Safety Training Ribbon Application - After you have completed the requirements for the Marine Safety Training Ribbon complete the application and send it to your DSO-MS for completion. If you need help with the training, work with your FSO-MS and/or FSO-MT for assistance.
Note: There is one possible requirement/pre-requisite for Trident that is NOT a requirement for the MSTR, obtaining a satisfactory PSI for a Direct Operations (DO) Clearance. This is determined by the local unit you will be working for, based upon the type of augmentation duties you will be performing. As this requirement varies from district to district and according to the needs of the local unit check with your local MS staff Officer to see if you need to obtain one. If you do, you might want to start the paperwork now, as it may take 6 months or more to complete. Forms and instructions can be obtained on the US HR Departments website
Above: USCGAUX Trident Device
The Trident program is a good model for the development of your skills and experience in Marine Safety. We strongly recommend you pursue your Trident qualification. But remember that the Trident program is only a guide; that your progress in marine safety will depend on your commitment and dedication to the program. Moreover, we do not want people to pursue Marine Safety qualifications unless they intend to remain active in the field, both in support of the Coast Guard and in training other Auxiliarists. Marine Safety Trident Device Application.
There are several prerequisites in the Trident program: Introduction to Marine Safety and Environmental Protection, Initial Indoctrination to Marine Safety, Incident Command System, and Good Mate. Completion of these courses will provide you with an excellent foundation in the marine safety area.
For more information visit the National Website
If you would like to schedule a safety check, please call (615) 815-0222 and leave your contact information. A trained member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary will be glad to meet with you and have fun checking your vessel!
The most important factor of a safe, responsible & fun filled outing is a boat which has all the necessary safety equipment operating properly. A free voluntary vessel safety check is the answer and our trained members will be happy to perform the check.
Vessels that successfully complete the safety check may qualify for a discount on rates with many major insurance companies. West Marine offers a 10% discount on safety equipment needed to pass the safety check.
While maximizing the safe use and enjoyment of U.S. waterways by recreational boaters, the Vessel Safety Check (VSC) process is one of prevention through education, outreach and volunteer compliance with federal and state recreational boating safety laws, particularly with regard to the carriage of safety equipment while raising boater awareness about safety and environmental issues through voluntary contact by a qualified Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Examiner.
Through discussions with recreational boaters, this program is designed to motivate boaters in maintaining and operating their boats in a safe manner, taking boating safety courses to increase their knowledge and skills in boating, and promote safe boating.
Areas covered by the safety check include: registration/documentation and proper display of registration numbers, adequate personal flotation devices, current visual distress signals for the boating area, number of operating fire extinguishers for the size of boat, engine compartment ventilation, backfire flame control, operating sound producing devices, properly installed & operating navigation lights and marine sanitation devices, display of required pollution and trash placards, navigation rules, and compliance with state requirements. A distinctive decal is awarded for display on your vessel upon successful completion.
Why should I get a VSC?
When you are on the water, you can be approached by the Coast Guard, the CG Auxiliary, Harbor Patrol, or any other law enforcement representative, and be asked to show that you are complying with the boating laws of the area, specifically as to required safety issues and as to intoxication. If you are cited for a violation, you can be fined, and/or your boat can be impounded. In the simplest case, you will be escorted off the water and given a warning. By allowing an Auxiliarist to give you a courtesy VSC, you can find out what you lack. In many cases, it is something simple, such as expired flares, not enough PFDs, or too many passengers. These are all easy to fix. When your boat displays a current VSC sticker, you know your boat was, at the time, in compliance, and that you know what is needed to stay in compliance.
What are the requirements to pass a VSC?
The checklist the Vessel Safety Check Examiners will use has fifteen items with which you must comply to receive the VSC decal. Your specific requirements depend on the type of boat you have and its length. Please CLICK HERE to see the checklist. CLICK HERE to see explanations. CLICK HERE to see the official USCG Minimum Equipment Requirements for Recreational Vessels broken out by vessel length.
FIRST SATURDAY VSC’s on J. Percy Priest Lake
Auxiliarists will be at public docks, launch ramps and Marinas on J. Percy Priest Lake on the first saturday of every month offering free vessel inspections. Our VSC Day events are usually all-day events, but giving your boat a VSC only takes about fifteen minutes. You do not need to make an appointment but it is suggested or just show up at one of these locations with your boat.
The purpose of the Program Visitor mission is to integrate existing Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) programs into a focused boating safety initiative which will increase the delivery of the RBS messages in an efficient and concentrated manner.
The Recreational Boating Safety Visitation Program is a public outreach program in support of the US Coast Guard’s recreational boating safety mission. The purpose of the RBSVP is to promote safe boating for the recreational boating public through the aid of local businesses, offices and marine dealerships.
There are approximately 80 million boaters in the United States. Great strides toward an ultimate goal of safe and enjoyable recreational boating can be made by making safety and related boating information available wherever the general public shops, passes by, or waits. This is achieved by a partnership between Program Visitors (PV), an ambassador from the Auxiliary who is visible source of information for federal, state and local boating safety requirements and education, and the Program Partner, any community business or facility that will allow the PV to place a literature display rack. Examples could include: marine dealers, plumbing shops, hardware stores, vessel rental agencies, vessel repair agencies, marinas, canvas or sail makers, hospital emergency or other waiting rooms, and doctor’s offices.
The program can be very enjoyable if you like going about in the community and chatting with folks about boating.
How Do I Become a Qualified Program Visitor?
The member must be at least Basically Qualified (BQ) or be in Applicant Pending Status (AP) and have passed a basic boating safety course.
Study the Vessel Safety Check Manual (COMDTINST M16796.8). It is recommended that members also take the Vessel Examiner workshop.
Study the RBSVP Manual (M16796.3C).
Pass the open book RBSVP Test via the National Testing Center. The online exam contains 30 questions and trainees have a 3 hour (180 minute) time limit once they start the exam. Students are required to achieve a minimum score of 90% in order to pass. NOTE: MDV = Marine Dealer Visitor.
Conduct two (2) visits under supervision by a qualified Program Visitor.
Complete your paperwork - have your mentor (the qualified Program Visitor who supervised your two required visits) complete and sign the Program Visitor Initial Qualification application form found in the back of the RBSPV Manual. Next have your Flotilla Commander or Vice Flotilla Commander complete and sign the form. Keep a copy for your records and then have your FC or VFC submit a request for your PV qualification.
How Do I Maintain My Certification?
Annual Certification Procedures: To remain certified, Program Visitors must complete four (4) RBSVP visits each calendar year.
Re-certification Procedures: If a Program Visitor fails to perform the annual certification procedures during a year, they must complete two (2) satisfactory visits under the supervision of a certified Program Visitor. The certified Program Visitor receives the credit for the re-certifying visits. After completing the re-certifying visits, the Program Visitor must then complete an additional four (4) more visits to meet the requirements for that year.
If more than five (5) years has elapsed since the loss of certification, the member must re-qualify following the same process as a new Program Visitor.
PHOTO: US Coast Guard Auxiliarist, Michael Simpson inspects a fire extinguisher during a courtesy Vessel Safety Check (VSC) at Four Corners Marina on 01MAR2014.
The US Coast Guard does not issue certificates of approval for portable fire extinguishers. Instead, an approved extinguisher are can be identified by the marine type label, such as “Marine Type, USCG approved, Type X. Size X, USCG approval number 162.028/XX.” The XX signifies the laboratory’s identification number for the particular extinguisher.
The Vessel Safety Check is not an official US Coast Guard boarding, and is made solely as a helpful safety service to the boating public. The safety check results are only reported to the boat owner. The safety check looks at the following items: registration, lights, horn, lifejackets, fire extinguishers, distress signals, ventilation, fuel systems, anchor, alternate propulsion, dewatering device, electrical system, sewage system, and navigation rules.
"What if my boat fails the Vessel Safety Check?"
No problem, just schedule a second examination. The VSC is not a law enforcement action. No one gets a copy of your failure to pass. You get a check list of your needs and, often, help in obtaining them. Where to get another examination is not a dilemma either. US Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Examiner from the Percy Priest Flotilla 082-11-04 will meet you at your boat - back at the ramp or marina or even your house.
Contact Timm Meunier at (615) 815.0222 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org