(BOSTON) – Last week, State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) spoke alongside members of the federal delegation, Massachusetts State Senators and Representatives, and town officials at a rally held Tuesday, August 31st to advocate for the preservation of the U.S. Coast Guard’s seasonal station in Scituate.
On June 9th, the U.S. Coast Guard announced its intention to shutter four seasonal stations across the United States, including the Scituate station, arguing that boating safety improvements and better response times have made the station “redundant.” The station, which usually remains open from Memorial Day to Labor Day through peak boating season, provides critical lifesaving and rescue services to the South Shore communities.
During the rally, legislators and officials highlighted the benefits the station offers and the drawbacks its closure could precipitate, chief among them the potential for adverse effects on public safety. In boating accidents and incidents in which every minute matters, the station’s closure may cause an increase in critical emergency response times. In addition, the closure could result in increased burdens on municipal police departments, fire departments, and harbormasters. None of these departments possess the same capabilities and vessels as the U.S. Coast Guard, and because South Shore communities constructed public safety response capacities based on the existing seasonal station’s critical incident response resources, the station’s closure may contribute to already increasing rates of boating fatalities and injuries.
Speakers at the rally included Congressman Stephen F. Lynch, Congressman Bill Keating, South Shore Regional Director for Senator Elizabeth Warren Farrah Ridore, Massachusetts Director for Senator Ed Markey Jim Cantwell, State Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth), State Representative Patrick Kearney (D-Scituate), Plymouth Town Manager Melissa Arrighi, Marshfield Harbormaster Michael DiMeo, and Scituate Town Administrator Jim Boudreau.
In addition to advocating at the rally, members of the South Shore Legislative Delegation recently sent a letter outlining concerns related to the station’s closure to the Commander of the First Coast Guard District, Rear Admiral Thomas G. Allan, Jr.
“It is critical that the Scituate Coast Guard Station remains operational,” said Representative Meschino. “In a period when boating accidents and injuries are increasing, we should be doing everything we can to preserve and expand public safety on the water. Our fishermen and boaters deserve to feel safe in the knowledge that should a mishap occur, the United States Coast Guard will arrive in short order.”
The Coast Guard has offered an extension on the public comment period on this issue, termed by the Coast Guard the “Consolidation of Redundant Coast Guard Boat Stations.” To learn more about the decision made by the Coast Guard and to submit public comment on this issue, visit this webpage.