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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
December 24, 1998     Cape Gazette
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December 24, 1998
 

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U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary safety patrols a plus to team concept Coast Guard Auxiliarist Andy Assimos and his crewman Ed Rodgers encountered rough seas as they seabed nearby coastal waters, pursuing a report of an overdue vessel. Failing to make contact, they decided to return to the safe wa- ters of Indian River Bay. But first, Assimos had to navigate his boat through the Indian River Inlet, a narrow waterway framed by rock jetties, that can be one of the roughest inlets on the coast when the tides and winds are angry. A ragged column of small recreational and fishing boats, all seeking inner harbor safety, plunged through the six-foot waves, throwing a heavy spray as they neared the Coastal Highway bridge supports. Then, without warning, one of the boats stopped dead ahead of Assimos' safety pa- trol boat, hurling five people into the raging sea. "A woman surfaced first," Assi- mos said. She held on to the over- turned hull as Assimos maneu- vered his way closer to the scene. "We grabbed her just as the boat started to float away," he said. "We had a tough time pulling her on board." A passing fishing vessel and a 41-foot Coast Guard cutter out of the nearby Indian River Coast Guard Station each rescued two of the other victims. The incident happened more than 12 years ago, but Assimos had no difficulty recalling the de- tails of that patrol. "No lives were lost," he said. "That's the important thing." There are some infrequent weekends when Assimos does not get the chance to assist a boater in distress, but even though these safety patrols are uneventful, he still believes he has provided a worthwhile public service. "Whenever I pass by another boat, they see the patrol signs and the Auxiliary flag, and people usually wave," Assimos said. "I think they appreciate the fact that we are on the water, ready to help them if they need it." Assimos, who has dedicated 38 years of service in the Auxiliary, is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable seafarers on local waters. That's because Assimos, a member of Flotilla 12-09 out of Riverdale, volunteers for most Auxiliary safety patrols, year after year. He's busy every summer weekend and on most Wednes- days. A Rehoboth resident, Assimos conducted a recent Coast Guard Safety Patrol, under official Coast Guard orders, with fellow flotilla member Bill Tower, who lives in Lewes. Tower is a qualified coxswain like Assimos and volun- teered to serve on Assimos' boat, a 20-foot center console vessel that is an approved Coast Guard facility, as crewman. After eight hours cruising Delaware Bay and Lewes Harbor, they returned to Roosevelt Inlet satisfied they had made a thor- ough search for boaters in need of help. No help was needed and the Auxiliarists returned to their home dock without an assist. An assist, or "case" is one of the units of achievement by which regular Coast Guard Stations are measured. And, if Auxiliary coxswains are called upon to aid a disabled boater, their assist is just as meaningful to the station's record as that of the regular Coast Guard. "The Coast Guard Auxiliary safety patrols are an added plus to the Team Coast Guard concept," said Master Chief Petty Officer Lou Fisher, commander of both the Indian River and Ocean City, Md. Coast Guard Stations. "They help ease the workload of the nine guys we have attached to Indian River on weekends," Fisher said. "The Auxiliary pro- vides us with a second eye on the water. They all do an outstanding job." As of mid-August, Assimos completed 22 safety patrols and was credited with 21 assists, both figures surpassing by far any oth- er Auxiliarist in the area. A typical case includes assisting boaters who have lost power due to mechanical or electrical mal- functions, or because of empty fu- el tanks. Usually the disabled ves- sels are found anchored, or drift- ing; ielatively calm waters. The imm&:liate solution may be to tow the boat to the nearest safe haven. More rescue skills are required when a boat is found floundering in the surf or in imminent danger of drifting onto rocks. Auxiliarists have also assisted with boat fires, boats taking on water, collisions, falls overboard, medical emergen- cies and capsizings. Auxiliarists' privately-owned boats are used in a variety of ways to assist the Coast Guard. Recent missions include checking VHF radio signals transmitted from a new tower to various GPS coordi- nates in Rehoboth and Indian Riv- er Bays, and verifying aids to nav- igation (buoys). And, every once in a while, there is that special assignment. "We were privileged to escort the Coast Guard cutter "Eagle" dur- ing the 1996 Bicentennial," Tower said. The Eagle, a full-masted bar- que used for midshipmen training, visited the Port of Philadelphia for the occasion. Tower, a 25-year Auxiliary vet- eran and former captain of a full division of flotillas before moving to lower Delaware, said escorting the Eagle was his most memo- rable duty. All of the work provided by the Auxiliary is voluntary. Each Aux- iliarist buys her or her own uni- forms, both work and dress, and all the boat equipment. Except for fuel and a small food allowance, there is no monetary compensa- tion for services. Boat ownership, while desir- able, is not required to join the Auxiliary. And, in addition to safety patrols, there are many oth- er tasks, such as public education instructors and vessel examiners, that are available for auxiliary members. Men or women interested in joining the Auxiliary should call Flotilla 12-09 commander Jim AI- brand at 947-0105 or John Wallo, FSO member resources, at 945- 8368. Fish and Wildlife regs subject of Dec, 29 hearing The Delaware Division of Fish regulations which include the foi- 1)ike riding at state wildife areas and Wildlife will hold a public lowing: : clarification of dog training :.hearing on draft revisions .to:th e " : elimination of gunning rig motor vehicle use on state state's wildlife and freshwater f'vsh. Imts " ,ildlife areas: /i regulations at 7:30 p.m., Tuesdy,: establishment of a beaver ha/-: -. limitation of sale Or posses,; Dc. 29, in the anditori=t:otl :Lesting season . / _.: , sion*,f;s0me:nongatne.wildlife 'RiChardson-RobbinsBuilng,- 89  '/ , reconsideration of the terrapin and prohib.t'tOniof. 19 of bea4" : K!ngs Highway, Dover. ? ::-_"on :. ....... - .pmsts-and,0ther exotiF animaIs " ' Anyone interested in lRnig, L  elimination of limits for..re- such sde is lrohilited.in.place af 'fishlng, wfldhfe watching olOtI >'leased game on shox)tlng pre- ongm ":" ,, - :outdoor recreation, as well as the serves -: : " : -' re=definition of -1,imits on use of state wildlife areas, is en- couraged to attend the hearing or submit written comments by Jan. 30. The proposed draft regulations reflect revisions to the existing clarification of limits on har- vesting deer * permission to use bait for hunting deer . prohibition of target shooting at state wildlife areas limits for horseback and trail squirrels and rabbits at four establishment of niles for fat'- conry consideration of other techni- "cal changes recommended by the pub]ic in re-adopting existing reg- ulations. to get Guaranteed* Below-Boat Show Prices on Cruisers Runabouts Jetskis/PWC Outboard Motors Fishing Boats Jet Boats Pontoon Boats plus extra savings on Scratch, Blemish, or Dented Boats thin We're OPEN NEW YEARS DAY! Mercury 60ELPT Bigfoot ONLY $3,942 (MSRP $5,310) Only one in stock on most itemsl 00Ad00CaDV'G I rr.x R Off of Rt. 24on Long Neck Road in Millsboro (302) 947-5050 http://www'shrtsmadne'cm qE wn't adverise any ba fr ess at the Sprfng Bat Sh (thru 3/31/99  r   m   d