Coast Guard supporters not standing down yet

The Coast Guard is being paid again, but people in coastal communities are keeping their new support programs going.

Federal agencies got back to work Monday after the longest-ever government shutdown. At the National Transportation Safety Board, 367 staffers out of 397 had been furloughed. With their return, they now have 27 accidents to catch up on, including two marine incidents, agency officials said Tuesday.

Most of the Coast Guard remained on duty, continuing to mount search and rescues and interdict vessels carrying migrants and drugs to the southeastern U.S. Now the paychecks are being cut again, but civilian support efforts are ongoing to help Coast Guard families make up for shortfalls.

A range of aid drives are still underway around Norfolk and Hampton Roads in Virginia. At the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, N.J., the Jersey Cape Military Spouses Club continues to distribute, food, household goods and other items contributed by neighbors.

One day before the White House announced a 30-day reinstatement of government operations, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy visited to training center to lend his support and call for an end to the shutdown.

Similar efforts were organized for small boat stations along the coast. On Sunday more than 600 people turned out for a benefit at a restaurant in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. to support Coast Guard members at the Manasquan Inlet station there.

On Sunday, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said President Trump could force a renewed government shutdown in three weeks in Congress does not meet his demand for funding a wall on the U.S. southern border with Mexico.

“Yeah, I think he actually is,” Mulvaney said in response to a question about Trump’s intention going forward. “He’s willing to do whatever it takes to secure the border.”

For now the Coast Guard and the civilian communities it serves are relieved to be back to something like normal. Members of the Manasquan station crew posted a public shout-out on their Facebook page.

“We cannot thank our community enough for the tremendous support we continue to receive. Please accept our heartfelt thank you as we navigate these uncharted waters. Like many of the storms we have weathered, together as a family we live up to our core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty…Our men and women with their heads held high show why we will always be the world’s premiere life-saving service by standing the watch. To our community we will be forever grateful.”

About the author

Kirk Moore

Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been a field editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for almost 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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