Station Morro Bay

Story by Fireman Daniel Rinear, cremwmber of Coast Guard Station Morro Bay

Coast Guard Station Morro Bay is unique in that we are one of only 20 surf stations in the Coast Guard, and the southernmost at that!

What this means is that we are capable of responding in the most adverse of weather conditions, to include surf and breaking seas. When heavy weather shows up, we have a very dangerous coast and harbor entrance. The waves will break 14 feet over the jetties and across the entrance making it very difficult for even the most seasoned boat captain to enter the harbor.

Fireman Daniel Rinear finishes preventive maintenance aboard Coast Guard Station Morro Bay's 47-foot Motor Lifeboat at the station's moorings.

Fireman Daniel Rinear finishes preventive maintenance aboard Coast Guard Station Morro Bay’s 47-foot Motor Lifeboat at the station’s moorings.

In addition to our harbor entrance, we have a vast, rugged coastline and the responsibility to provide safety in our jurisdiction is one not taken lightly.

To our south, Point Arguello has an acquired list of over 50 shipwrecks. In 1854, during the height of the gold rush, the Yankee Blade heading south from San Francisco ran aground near Point Arguello with a fortune in gold and 415 passengers, all of whom perished in the accident.

One of the most notable incidents at Point Arguello was in 1923 when seven Navy destroyers mistook Point Arguello for Point Conception and ran aground in heavy fog. Twenty-three men were lost in the accident. As these types of disasters continued, the Point Arguello Lifeboat Station was manned and their crews were determined and ready to respond to accidents near shore. A total of 12 enlisted men manned this station until 1958 when it was determined to be too costly.

The lighthouse at Point Arguello continued to be manned until 1967. The need for continued Coast Guard service did not go away with the Point Arguello Lifeboat Station and the tradition of keeping the coast safe was carried on by 82-foot patrol boats to what will be known as Station Morro Bay.

Our two-story building includes two bedrooms and three heads in a fairly modern facility combining the amenities of a home with the functionality of an office.

At any given time there are around 15 personnel aboard, 10 of which are dedicated to staying overnight to respond to cases.

The sun sets over the moored Motor Lifeboats of Coast Guard Station Morro Bay.

The sun sets over the moored Motor Lifeboats of Coast Guard Station Morro Bay.

Because of our limited personnel, everyone here must be qualified and highly proficient at their job.The expectations at a small boat unit are very high with each new member allotted only three weeks to become a watchstander. From there, each person becomes a boatcrewmember, engineer or coxswain.

The combination of qualifications can take members up to one-and-a-half years to obtain. These are known as core requirements and do not account for the various other certifications required to keep the unit running. For example, members are sent to CPR/First Aid instructor courses, hazardous waste management schools, and leadership development courses all in an effort to keep the unit running at its highest level. The work accomplished by the limited crew is a source of pride at Station Morro Bay and is better felt than articulated.

To maintain stamina and remain proficient with search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, port security, environmental protection, and the occasional front desk first aid response, we train, train, and train some more.

We remain extremely proficient at our duties on the boat by acquiring multiple hours underway and by keeping our equipment in tip-top shape. We keep our bodies ready for the rigors of life in the surf by Cross Fitting three times a week and running one to two miles per day.

I have truly grown to appreciate my experience at Station Morro Bay, and I challenge others to embrace the uniqueness of their unit.

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