Coast Guard invites public on tour of vessel to celebrate 232nd birthday

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – The Coast Guard is the oldest continuous sea-going service in the nation, to celebrate its 232nd birthday, the service invited the public to tour one of its vessels in downtown Wilmington.

Kids and adults alike got a chance to board a 47-foot coast guard motor life boat. The Midgett family took the opportunity to explore, and kids Wyatt and Alice enjoyed their experience.

“There’s a lot of cool stuff on it, I got to sit in one of the captain’s seats,” said Wyatt Midgett.

“I got to see what the engine room looks like,” said Alice.

Staff were on-hand to answer questions and explain their duties to those who took part in the tour.

The event also helped promote boat safety awareness, Addie Wyatt explained what she saw while on the vessel.

“You’re going to see a lot of controls, a lot of wires, and safety stuff,” she said.

The Cape Fear is a huge recreational boating area, safety is always a concern, according to Commander Sector North Carolina Captain Matt Baer.

“This is a commercial port as well, the water is a dangerous place,” he said. “The Cape Fear River has a lot of currents and turbulence, it’s never a good idea to just jump into a body of water.”

Baer advises boaters to always drink plenty of water, wear a life vest, let someone know where they’re going with a float plan.

The United States Coast Guard has been around for since the 1700’s conducting more than 100 search and rescue’s every day, according to the USCG. Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo proclaimed the first week of August Coast Guard Week.

Coast Guard members pride themselves on saving lives but are also tasked which vary among 11 statutory missions.

“As wide ranging as ice breaking in the North and South pole to defense operations in support of the Navy and Marine Corp,” said Baer.

The Coast Guard was founded in 1790 after congress commissioned the construction of ten ships to help enforce federal tariffs and prevent smuggling.

Baer hopes kids who spent time on the boat had a memorable moment with his team.

“We figured if we can plant the seed early, when they are looking for a job, they’ll remember this time on this 147-foot Motor Life Boat here,” he said.

Which is where Baer got his start as a teenager.

The Coast Guard is always looking for men and women to join their agency, swimming is not a requirement, the skill will be taught in training.

For more information, click here or to watch a video on what the Coast Guard has to offer click here.

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