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Coast Guard Introduction

Old 01-29-2019, 07:47 AM
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Default Coast Guard Introduction

Hello everyone! I want to take a moment to introduce myself to the community here.

I am Paul Barnard, the Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) Specialist for the Eighth Coast Guard District in New Orleans. This will be a somewhat lengthy introduction, so please bear with me. I suppose I should start by providing a little professional background. I ran rescue boats and did law enforcement for the Coast Guard for 20 years. I retired from active duty and went to work as a civilian SAR Controller. I did that for seven years before moving into a position as a commercial fishing vessel safety specialist. I served in that capacity for six years before I landed this job. It is truly my dream job and I am thrilled to be here.

You may be wondering what an RBS specialist does. Here's the position mission statement: "To minimize recreational boating casualties and the resulting loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and environmental impact through education, training, partnering with stakeholders and other preventative means in order to maximize the safe use and enjoyment of the District's waterways by the recreational boating public." That is obviously a very broad and general mission statement. You may be wondering what the Eighth Coast Guard District is. It's far and away the Coast Guard's largest. It includes all or part of 26 different states. It includes all or part the Gulf States and each state that the Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee River networks touch. You can take a look at the search engine images to see where the various Coast Guard districts are located. I would post a link, but being the noob, I have to have at least 10 posts before I can insert a URL.

With such a broad and general job description and a massive geographical area, one of the challenges of the job is to figure out where I will get the best return on my time investment. That's what brings me here. I want to avail myself to the public via this forum. First and foremost, I want to be the resource you want me to be. I also want to tap into the vast collective knowledge and experience base of the membership on The Hull Truth. I am hoping that my presence here interacting with folks with all levels of knowledge and experience will serve a useful educational purpose. To the best of my knowledge this will be the first time the Coast Guard has created a presence on an internet discussion forum. I went all the way to Headquarters Public Affairs to get their blessings.

What can I do for you? If it involves Recreational Boating Safety, I can probably bring value to the equation. With my background, I can answer most questions about the laws applicable in the maritime realm and the Coast Guard's policy and practices relative to law enforcement. I can also answer questions about the Coast Guard's SAR policy and practices. I should be able to answer most questions about The Navigation Rules, unless we get into the weeds of some of the technical specifications. For anything else, I will try to steer you to right resource. I also hope that through our discussions here that I and others can learn and borrow from you.

I will periodically post topics for discussion. Here's that list: https://www.thehulltruth.com/search....rchid=24216108 Please feel free to jump into those discussions. As I become aware of topics that I may be able to bring value to, I will ring in. If you start a discussion where you would like to hear from me or you see a thread where you think my presence may be useful, send me a PM. I have no idea how this will all work out. I certainly hope my official presence here is of value. I'd like for my threads to remain somewhat on topic, but that is not to say that we can't cut up and have a little fun in the process. I'll obviously be more guarded with my commentary than I am when I appear here in an unofficial capacity under my personal THT name. I should note though that I am not above criticism or questioning.

With that, let's kick this off. I'll close by providing my contact information and I encourage you to contact me here or through the below info.

Paul Barnard
Recreational Boating Safety Program Manager
500 Poydras St Rm1331
New Oleans LA 70130
504-671-2148
paul.d.barnard@uscg.mil

DISCLAIMER: I have created this Coast Guard account to better avail myself to the public I serve in the interest of promoting recreational boating safety. I articles I post here are just like the ones I will post elsewhere. When I answer questions here, I am answering them just like I would if you called me on the phone, but using this forum to answer them will give others the benefit of the information and hopefully generate useful discussion and input from other forum members. You could ask a question of 10 different safety professionals and you'd likely see some differences in the answers. I don't presume to speak for anyone other than myself. I will often cite law or quote policy verbatim, then give you my understanding or interpretation as a 33 year employee of the Coast Guard and a safety specialist. I will do my level best to distinguish between the law, policy, my experience, my beliefs and opinions.
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:08 AM
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Let me use this introductory thread to ask you a question. The answers to this question will help me know where to focus much of my effort.

Where do you get boating safety information? I tend to view things through the prism of my own life and experiences, but I may be missing something. Let me refine the question a bit. Boating safety is obviously my job, so I spend a lot of time actively seeking it out. How would the average boater who doesn't seek it out get exposed to recreational boating information of an educational value. I have my own ideas about that, and I'll share them with you, but I don't want to steer your responses.
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:10 AM
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This is an awesome idea. Best of luck and welcome aboard.
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by RiptideCharters View Post
This is an awesome idea. Best of luck and welcome aboard.
Welcome aboard? Paul is one of the longest term members of THT.

Paul, why the new sig?
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:21 AM
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welcome
this is a great resource to have on this site
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:24 AM
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My wife and I took the USCG Aux. safety course when we bought our first boat 20 years ago. We learned a lot from that class.
Other than THT, it would seem that for boating safety education or general info, the boating public must SEEK this information on their own.

Example would be the Calcutta thread that`s currently active.
I believe any one who has read it has probably gleened valuable info related to boating safety.. (running at night, paying attention).

Welcome aboard Paul. I look forward to any professional input you may provides us with in the future.
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by aFORDable View Post
Welcome aboard? Paul is one of the longest term members of THT.

Paul, why the new sig?

I want to distinguish my official account from my personal one. I want folks to know that when they are speaking to me under this user name that they are speaking to a member of the Coast Guard who is speaking for the Coast Guard in an official capacity. So if for example I tell you what the Coast Guard's SAR policy is, you'll know that I am speaking on behalf of the Coast Guard. Under my personal account, I may have at one time (and probably will again) posted something that was perhaps less than professional, so I want to keep the two users distinct and separate. Did that answer your question?
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by USCG Safe Boating D8 View Post
Let me use this introductory thread to ask you a question. The answers to this question will help me know where to focus much of my effort.

Where do you get boating safety information? I tend to view things through the prism of my own life and experiences, but I may be missing something. Let me refine the question a bit. Boating safety is obviously my job, so I spend a lot of time actively seeking it out. How would the average boater who doesn't seek it out get exposed to recreational boating information of an educational value. I have my own ideas about that, and I'll share them with you, but I don't want to steer your responses.
Hey Paully Bicycles,

I took safety course prob around 20 years ago with CG Aux. In the spring i typically look at what safety items i need to have on board and check them. Done in the spring because that is when we are getting the boat ready. Other than that, I don't stay up to date on new things. I dont' have a suggestion for how to either.
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by rzotti View Post
My wife and I took the USCG Aux. safety course when we bought our first boat 20 years ago. We learned a lot from that class.
Other than THT, it would seem that for boating safety education or general info, the boating public must SEEK this information on their own.

Example would be the Calcutta thread that`s currently active.
I believe any one who has read it has probably gleened valuable info related to boating safety.. (running at night, paying attention).

Welcome aboard Paul. I look forward to any professional input you may provides us with in the future.

Thank you. That's just what I was looking for.
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by WaterEnjoyer View Post
Hey Paully Bicycles,

I took safety course prob around 20 years ago with CG Aux. In the spring i typically look at what safety items i need to have on board and check them. Done in the spring because that is when we are getting the boat ready. Other than that, I don't stay up to date on new things. I dont' have a suggestion for how to either.

Thanks for your response. Where do you, or did you, go to get the info on what is required on your vessel?
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by USCG Safe Boating D8 View Post
I want to distinguish my official account from my personal one. I want folks to know that when they are speaking to me under this user name that they are speaking to a member of the Coast Guard who is speaking for the Coast Guard in an official capacity. So if for example I tell you what the Coast Guard's SAR policy is, you'll know that I am speaking on behalf of the Coast Guard. Under my personal account, I may have at one time (and probably will again) posted something that was perhaps less than professional, so I want to keep the two users distinct and separate. Did that answer your question?
Well then, welcome aboard!!
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:38 AM
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Thank you for your service and welcome aboard. We all can use extra knowledge on boating safely.
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:40 AM
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Hey Paul!
I like the Official user name and its application (we know to be serious now )

I took my first Coast Guard Auxiliary Course in Barnegat Light NJ when I was 13 for my first boat.
I recently took the newer online course before purchasing my most recent boat last year.
I read all the Boat US membership articles that apply as well as those here on THT.
In the North East boating is seasonal, so we have to remember to brush up each year before the season starts, IMO.

I think weekly articles or quizzes/polls on THT would be helpful.

Looking forward to this new awesome resource!

Freddy
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by USCG Safe Boating D8 View Post
Thanks for your response. Where do you, or did you, go to get the info on what is required on your vessel?
Google search. I just did it and it looks like i used the NJ state police site last year.
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:49 AM
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Glad you are getting paid to be here now. but in all seriousness I see this being quite the value to all of us on the forum. Look forward to it. Good Luck!
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:06 PM
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Cool idea, present the CG as a resource and easily reached. Thanks.
There are so many ways to get information about safety, rules, and processes for boaters, yet it's the un-informed and poorly informed that are problematic.
Where I get safety info: US Sailing. Boat US. Seminars. On the water training. Reading books and conversations with professionals.
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:06 PM
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I am told that because of the Coast Guard guy's status as a n00b, he is limited to 5 posts per day. He is working with the mod and admin team to find a work-around so that he can to continue to respond.
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I am told that because of the Coast Guard guy's status as a n00b, he is limited to 5 posts per day. He is working with the mod and admin team to find a work-around so that he can to continue to respond.
Noob!
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:23 PM
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How about posting the checklist of safety equipment every recreational boater should have on board at a minimum and required by the USCG, the same list referenced when the USCG boards/inspects a recreational vessel.
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:32 PM
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great introduction Paul and congratulations on the new Job..
I have found that the easiest place to find information on what is required is the Big Box store (WM).. they have the checklist right at the fire extinguisher, flare area and its super simple. yes I can look up whats required online but that takes work time and I have to write the list down. every year I check flares, flotation devices, radio, first aid kit, etc.. going to WM for the quick things and having that checklist there is super simple.
if you could provide an easily printable version of the USCG required items that would be greatly appreciated. it could be printed, laminated and stored onboard.
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