Home Community People Coast Guard Auxiliary Recognizes 'Ducks'

Coast Guard Auxiliary Recognizes 'Ducks'


Nov. 13, 2004 – Ever wonder how the local Coast Guard stays in practice for potential search and rescue missions? They with the Coast Guard Auxiliary conduct search and rescue exercises along the St. Thomas Waterfront using helicopters and rescue boats.
"We frequently practice these rescue techniques in order to be better prepared in the event of a real emergency in our Virgin Islands waters," Bob Armstrong, Public Affairs Officer for the Auxiliary, said. "In a rescue situation, it's important that everyone knows his or her particular responsibility so that the victim can be airlifted or brought aboard the rescue boat as quickly as possible," Armstrong said.
Part of the exercise involves using volunteer victims who fall overboard from a moving boat. They are then rescued by one of the Coast Guard or Auxiliary boats. "The volunteers we use in these practice exercises are called 'ducks' rather than victims. They are local residents who volunteer to get wet for a few minutes. Our most recent ducks, Jennifer Skipper and Amber McCammon, were both former lifeguards," Armstrong said.
"In a real life situation," Armstrong said, "every second counts when a life is at risk. An incorrect life ring toss could waste precious seconds. That is why we continually practice these procedures. There may not be a second chance."
Skipper and McCammon were given certificates of appreciation from the Auxiliary and a special medallion from the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen on Puerto Rico.
For additional information, contact Bob Armstrong, 776-4673.


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