Buoy Tender Roundup 2016
Posted by PA1 Jon-Paul Rios, Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Buoy tenders have been an integral part of the U.S. Coast Guard’s fleet since 1939.
Capable of doing a range of missions to include aids to navigation, search and rescue and limited icebreaking, it makes sense that they adopted the name ‘workhorses of the fleet.’
During this years Annual Buoy Tender Roundup (BTR), hosted by the Coast Guard 17th District in Juneau, Alaska, from Aug. 15-19, U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard members received specialized training in areas such as engine repair, buoy maintenance, first aid, navigation, weather observation and fisheries. Seven U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian buoy tenders, stationed throughout Alaska and the Pacific Northwest participated including the Coast Guard Cutters Maple, Hickory, Fir, Sycamore, Elderberry, Anthony Petit and the Canadian coast guard ship Bartlett.
BTR is not only about learning and bettering skills but also friendship, camaraderie and strengthening of bonds amongst the field. Friendly competition is the most evident way that the BTR promotes relationships between the various crews involved.
“Having the crews compete against each other is not only for the crews to gain a sense of pride in their ships’ name, but to put the teams in safe situations that allow them to trust in each other’s abilities and strengths,” said Lt. Cmdr. Michael Newell, Coast Guard 17th District chief of waterways management. “This translates into the field when you need that brotherhood to get through difficult tasks.”
During the Buoy Tender Roundup Olympics, a day dedicated to friendly competition between the buoy tenders, crews test their strength in events such as the chain pull, survival swim, tug-o-war. This years overall winner of the Buoy Tender Olympics, taking first place was the cutter Sycamore. The cutter Maple came in second and the cutter Hickory took third.
In a first for the BTR, the food services specialist rating force master chief attended and provided culinary training for the cutters cooks. Later, the cooks and rating force master chief provided a barbeque, serving more than 300 attendees.
Additionally, subject matter experts from across the Coast Guard are brought in to inspect and service vital shipboard equipment to ensure the buoy tender’s safety during future deployments.
“I hope these crews take what they have learned at the roundup and implement it while they service Alaska’s 1,250 navigational aids along it’s 42,000-mile long coastline,” said Newell.