Canine operations aboard the CGC Blackfin

Air Station San Diego HH-60J deploys MSST Galveston canine and handler to CGC Blackfin's aft deck.  Photo by: Lt. T. L. Gregg

An Air Station San Diego HH-60J deploy a MSST Galveston canine and handler to CGC Blackfin’s aft deck. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Tony Gregg

Story and photo by Lt. Tony Gregg

Sector Los Angeles – Long Beach’s area of responsibility is home to several abundant fishery resources which the Coast Guard protects through education and enforcement.  Because of its location in the area, the Coast Guard Cutter Blackfin is a leader in fishery protection through liaisons and partnerships with local, state and federal agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Fishery Service and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

BLACKFIN crest

The Blackfin’s crew took the opportunity to transport and partner with Coast Guard Marine Safety and Security Team canines and their handlers, deploying aboard commercial fishing boats in the area to demonstrate the abilities of the Marine Protector Class patrol boat and enhance the boarding team’s detection capabilities.  Canines are typically able to distinguish ten individual smells and are usually trained as bomb detection, narcotics, arson or wild game detectors because of their ability to specialize.

“Chiquita is a bomb dog by trade,” said Lt. Tony Gregg, Blackfin’s commanding officer. “This operation provided her with a rare shipboard training opportunity and the Blackfin’s crew learned how to supplement their boarding with a canine member. This capability opens the door for several joint exercises as CDFW and many local police partners who maintain canine programs.”

Chiquita, a Marine Safety and Security Team canine, and her handler join the Blackfin's crew for fisheries boardings of the local fleet. Photo by Lt. T. L. Gregg

Chiquita, a Marine Safety and Security Team canine, and her handler join the Blackfin’s crew for fisheries boardings of the local fleet. Photo by Lt. Tony Gregg

The event also provided Air Station San Diego and MSST handlers and dogs from San Francisco and Galveston, Texas, with an opportunity to conduct vertical insertion training with a patrol boat. Given the Blackfin’s crew and their love of dogs, it was productive and rewarding trip.

The Coast Guard Cutter Blackfin was commissioned in 2000 and is homeported in sunny Santa Barbara, Calif.

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