On Saturday, April 5, 2014, the Stevens Institute of Technology United States Coast Guard Auxiliary student group and a team of students from the naval engineering department participated in a patrol of the Hudson River with the Captain and crew of the USCGC Sturgeon Bay.
Hosted by Lt. Kenneth Sauerbrunn, Captain of the Sturgeon Bay, the students engaged in a tour of the Ice Breaker and were given the opportunity to set sail and participate in a "man-overboard" exercise.
Established in the Fall of 2012, the Stevens USCG Auxiliary program is one of only seven university-based programs in the nation and is the only Auxiliary university program to be partnered with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence. Since the program's inception, eleven Stevens students and faculty members have been officially sworn in as Auxiliary members.
The program, coordinated by Beth Austin-DeFares, Director of Education for the Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce (CSR), in collaboration with local Flotilla (Auxiliary unit) members, was designed to engaged engineering and science students in maritime safety and security trainings, civic service outreach projects, and on-board activities with local Auxiliary and active duty USCG personnel.
“This was a great opportunity for students to get out in the field and learn more about Coast Guard operations, and to network with active duty Coast Guard personnel,” says Austin-DeFares.
In addition to observing the man overboard drill, students learned about the vessel, and spoke with the lead electrical engineer to understand how the ship operates. They also toured the bridge to learn about sea vessel navigation systems, and the daily operations of navigating the ice to ensure the safety of passengers and cargo.
“I really enjoyed watching the communication between the crew members to safely navigate the Sturgeon Bay during the Man Overboard Drill, says Austin Swain, USCG Auxiliary member and Stevens naval engineering undergraduate. “They were able to effectively communicate with one another to decide on the quickest way to recover the shipmate while also keeping everyone else safe, and handled difficulties so fluidly.”
Next, during Fleet Week, the Auxiliary program plans to hold a planking ceremony in which they will be officially recognized at Stevens. The ceremony will include USCG active duty personnel and senior level Auxiliary officials.