Members of U.S. Coast Guard Flotilla 59 located in Stuart, Florida elected their new leaders for 2022. The two senior Officers of each Flotilla are known as the “bridge” honoring the seagoing nature of the U.S. Coast Guard. The 2022 Bridge consists of Mr. Kevin Gilbert who assumes the role of Flotilla Commander and Ms. Sheryl O’Neil, the new Vice Flotilla Commander. The U.S. Coast Guard has an unusual tasking among the other United States military services in that they provide armed policing of the nations near shore waters but also have the responsibility to educate the boating public and for the inspection of vessels in those waters. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary was created in 1939 to augment the active-duty sailors by aiding in the non-armed requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The new Bridge Officers’ priorities center around recreational boating safety. Boating safety starts and ends with the boat operator. This year Flotilla 59 is working to provide flexible formats to reach as many boat operators in Martin County as possible. Adapting our courses and presentations to fit the new “normal” will include more off-site training and exploring new modes of education. The Auxiliary’s job is to ensure boat operators and their vessels are top-notch. Helping boaters return safely from a day on the water is the Flotilla’s overarching goal.
Flotilla 59’s building is in Sandsprit Park and the membership consists of over 50 dedicated individuals who provide boater education, training and penalty free vessel inspections. All U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarists fall under the Department of Homeland Security and serve our nation and our local community in this very important job of recreational boating safety. One of the basic tenets of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is fellowship among its members. The Auxiliary is always looking for new members to join and enjoy the sense of achievement and comradery.
Monthly meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.