BOSTON, MA – On June 9th, the U.S. Coast Guard announced their decision to close four seasonal stations across the country. The announcement included the Scituate Station which operates from Memorial Day through Labor Day. In response to the news, local officials from every level of government came together for a press conference calling on the Coast Guard to reconsider its position. Now, Senator O’Connor and his state level colleagues have formally submitted a letter to the Coast Guard to clearly express their viewpoint.
“My colleagues and I on the South Shore stand united in our efforts to ensure the Scituate Coast Guard Station remains open,” said State Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth). “This shift could have an immense impact and we hope the Coast Guard reconsiders its decision for the safety of our residents.”
In their letter, the legislators cite the Coast Guard’s own 2020 Boating Safety Statistics Report which indicated a 25% increase in the number of boating fatalities nationwide, a 26% increase in the number of boating accidents, and a 25% increase in the number of non-fatal injured victims.
Regarding response capabilities, the legislators say their municipalities are simply not equipped to handle the complexities that come with these types of incidents.
“The station’s closure will shift search and rescue responsibilities onto our municipal police departments, fire departments, and harbormasters, none of which have the incident command response capabilities or sea worthy vessels as the U.S. Coast Guard. Our communities have built up our public safety response based on the existing seasonal station’s critical incident response resources, command communications abilities, and leadership. This shift has the potential to contribute to already increasing rates of boating fatalities and injuries.”
Closing out their letter, the legislators said, “We appreciate the Coast Guard’s intent to streamline its assets and shift its focus to match twenty-first century challenges. However, these coastal waters can be treacherous for boaters even during fair weather and calm seas.”
Signing on to the letter were Senators O’Connor and Moran, and Representatives Meschino, Kearney, Cutler, DeCoste, Lanatra, Muratore, and Murphy.
Senator Patrick O’Connor represents the Plymouth and Norfolk district, which includes the towns of Cohasset, Duxbury, Hingham, Hull, Marshfield, Norwell, Scituate, and Weymouth. Sen. O’Connor and his staff may be reached at the State House at 617-722-1646 or by email at Patrick.O’[email protected].