Introducing “Your Great Lakes Coast Guard” blog

>Welcome to this first post. I’m Rear Admiral Peter Neffenger, Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, and I’m pleased to introduce this blog we’re calling “Your Great Lakes Coast Guard.” We created this site as a forum to exchange information with you about the work of your Ninth Coast Guard District.

The motto of the Ninth District is “Guardians of the Great Lakes” and we take our duty seriously. We’re responsible for all Coast Guard operations throughout the five Great Lakes, the Saint Lawrence Seaway and parts of the surrounding states including 6,700 miles of shoreline and 1,500 miles of the international border with Canada. As the District Commander, I oversee a force of more than 5,500 active duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary men and women serving at 77 units across the Great Lakes. Together, we deliver multi-mission services in search and rescue, maritime safety and security, environmental protection, maritime law enforcement, aids to navigation and icebreaking.

As a native of Elyria, Ohio, and a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College, it’s a great privilege for me to return home to serve. The Great Lakes system is critically important to this region’s — and our nation’s — economic health and, as the largest collective body of fresh water in the world, is an irreplaceable environmental resource and national treasure.

The Great Lakes also support a large and diverse community of recreational boaters, fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts. Because of this we face many unique challenges while conducting our day-to-day operations. The enormous amount of commercial shipping and recreational boating traffic keeps us ever mindful of the need to ensure safe and secure waterways and to be ready to dispatch rescue teams in emergencies.

We also share these waters with Canada and have developed many important partnerships and agreements with our Canadian counterparts, as well as with various federal, state and local agencies and officials to ensure all of our efforts are coordinated. For example, we work together with Canada to inspect ships for compliance with laws and treaties, we share information through various cross-border teams in order to counter smuggling and other criminal activities and we work together to ensure we keep ships moving efficiently throughout the Lakes.

We’ll use this blog to keep you informed about what we’re doing here in the Ninth Coast Guard District. But we’d also like your feedback. Please send us your ideas for content and share your thoughts. Protecting the Great Lakes is a team effort and you’re part of that team.

To close this first post, I’d like to share some video of our crews training for ice rescues at our Ice Capabilities Center of Excellence in Saginaw, Michigan. The video was captured by our public affairs staff, and the news piece was aired by the folks at the Pentagon Channel. Check back soon to read about my first-person account of this training, since I’m heading up there to experience it for myself!

Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District

The Pentagon Channel is a TV channel broadcasting military news and information for the 2.6 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces. It is widely available on US cable television, can be viewed FTA in Europe, Africa, the Americas and most of Asia via satellite, and can be viewed globally via the Internet. Its programming includes: Department of Defense news briefings, military news, interviews with top Defense officials, and short stories about the work of the United States military.

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