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Sector Lake Michigan History


While interning in Public Affairs as a civilian here at Sector Lake Michigan for the United States Coast Guard, I was privileged enough to be assigned the task of compiling a “history” of Sector’s command. After hours of editing and revising the many compilations sent from each respective station, I have come to the realization of the many differing aspects that this Sector encompasses. As a civilian and student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, working on this project has given me a broader sense of what kind of work goes into making Sector Lake Michigan what it truly is.

The contents of this book are merely a historical reference to each individual station and how they all work together. In addition, the purpose is to help keep a history of each station so that future generations will have some insight as to how Sector Lake Michigan was.

In my opinion, I feel very privileged to have worked for the U.S. Coast Guard and to have helped create a lasting piece of information that others can enjoy. Thanks to all who helped put this together and the guys in the J.O. office. Semper Paratus.

Thomas J. Feldmann
Civilian Intern
United States Coast Guard
Sector Lake Michigan

Sector Lake Michigan History

U. S. Coast Guard Base Milwaukee, initially adepot for the Ninth Light-House District, was constructed in 1907. Used to store, maintain and repair vessels and shore-based facilities, Base Milwaukee was part of Milwaukee’s Port District, located on the Kinnickinnic River connecting to Lake Michigan. In 1967, Base Milwaukee moved to the present day building for Sector Lake Michigan. Once there, Station Milwaukee and MSO Milwaukee followed suit and arrived in 1970, establishing Group Milwaukee.

Located just south of downtown Milwaukee, Sector Lake Michigan controls nearly all of Lake Michigan under command of District Nine for the U. S. Coast Guard. Established in 2005, the Coast Guard created Sector commands by integrating Groups, Marine Safety Offices, Vessel Traffic Services and, in some cases, Air Stations to more effectively manage the sweeping changes in our operational environment. Sector Lake Michigan is one of 35 newly established Sector commands throughout the country.

Sector Lake Michigan combines Group Milwaukee, Marine Safety Office Milwaukee, Marine Safety Office Chicago, and Group Grand Haven. Unifying Coast Guard operational command and control functions into Sector command places the full range of our missions under a single, local operational commander within a reasonably sized area of operations resulting in increased interaction and coordination of Coast Guard missions, the development of a common operating picture, and the rapid sharing of information and intelligence.

The legacy Group and Marine Safety Offices will form a generic organizational Sector model – which includes prevention, response, and logistics elements – that have been developed and can be modified to account for local factors such as geography and the complexity of the area of responsibility.

Station Calumet Harbor History

Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor

Station Calumet Harbor is located on the southern end of Chicago’s lake front in Calumet Park and was originally placed into service in 1933 as station South Chicago. Before that, the previous station bearing the same name, commissioned in 1915, was located on the North bank of the Calumet River just inside the rivers mouth. In a continued state of growth the station has undergone two renovations: the addition of floating boat docks and three mobile homes. The station is currently breaking ground for a new engineering facility. New for 2005 was the grand opening of the Chicago Marine Safety Station; previously known as Coast Guard Station Old Chicago. Now the station is a Forward Operating Base for station crew supporting downtown Chicago and is housed with our maritime law enforcement partners the Illinois Conservation Police and Chicago police Marine Unit.

Early on in it's history, Station Calumet Harbor serviced only the southern portion of Chicago and northwest Indiana. Staffing consisted of a Chief and crew of seven with a Life boat, pulling surfboat and dinghy.

Over the past 73 years Calumet Harbor’s area of responsibility has grown on four separate occasions. When Station Jackson Park first closed in 1964 and when Station Chicago closed in 1969. Then again in 1986 when Station Wilmette became a sub-unit which later regained its independent status in 2003 and the most recent change has been post September 11 when Calumet Harbor picked up the remanding 120 miles of the Illinois river system extending south nearly to Peoria Ill. Likewise, over the years crew size has grown to include a Boatswain Warrant as Commanding Officer and crew of 46 with an additional 31 Reserves including a 19-man Harbor Patrol Detachment and support- ed by over 300 members of the CG Auxiliary spanning four divisions. In addition to the 19 or so auxiliary facilities, Calumet Harbor has a UTB, three Homeland Security boats and three Boston Whalers, making Calumet Harbor one of the largest stations in the Ninth Coast Guard District.

Chicago, without a doubt, is the reason behind the continued growth . As the third largest city in the nation and the water corridor to and from the nation’s heartland, Chicago rests squarely as the high profile city within the Great Lakes. With two of the world’s tallest buildings and several high profile businesses, Chicago has ranked high in concern in a post 9/11 world.

Operationally, Calumet Harbor conducts daily Homeland Security patrols along the 210 miles of coast and waterways. Yearly, the station manages such world class events as the Chicago Air and Water Show, Taste of Chicago Celebration, Venetian Night, Tall Ships and 75+ other marine events held throughout the boating season supporting the largest marina system in the United States. In addition, Calumet Harbor runs continued law enfo rcement operations throughout the year focusing on BUI enforcement and Recreational Boating Safety programs striking a double-win for improving boater safety and deterring terrorism. The station was ranked amongst the highest in Law Enforcement activities for the past three years resulting in drastic reductions of serious injury and death, bringing station search and rescue numbers to pre-1986 levels.

In keeping up the Chicago and Ninth District traditions, we continually support other areas in addition to our own. Whether it’s Beardstown and Cairo for flood relief during the 1930s or Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for the Middle Eastern Detention Center perimeter security in 2002 or Alabama , Louisiana and Mississippi for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, members from Calumet Harbor were there. As the summer approaches, our Harbor Patrol Detachment prepares to support security for the upcoming 2006 Tall Ships throughout the Great Lakes. Your safety remains our number one concern.

Station Frankfort History

Coast Guard Station Frankfort

Coast Guard Station Frankfort is located in the town of Frankfort on picturesque Lake Michigan, where dedicated crews have stood watch for over a 100 years. The long history of the Coast Guard in Frankfort began in 1887 with the U. S. Lifesaving Service establishing a Station in Elberta, Michigan. This Lifesaving Station is still standing approx. one half of a mile from where our current station sits today and has been fully restored to its original condition. In 1934, a new 14,000 square foot station was built in Frankfort that contained wooden lifeboats mounted on rails inside the station boathouse directly underneath the living quarters. As technology progressed and lifeboats became larger and more sophisticated, the boats were kept at the docks near the station. For a brief two year period at the turn of the century, Station Frankfort became a Station (small) under the parent command of Station Manistee. It was soon obvious, though, that the need for a larger independent crew in Frankfort was in the public’s best interest and in July of 2003, Frankfort once again stood on her own as one of Group Grand Haven’s units. During that same year, construction began on a brand new modern facility located next to the 1934 building and the Coast Guard took possession of the building in June of 2004. The summer of 2005 brought even further changes with the restructuring of command within the Coast Guard community. Sector Lake Michigan, located in Milwaukee, became the new parent unit for all Lake Michigan units and Group Grand Haven became a Sector Field Office. These changes marked a new beginning and in many ways, reaffirmed the Coast Guard’s continued service and commitment to the boating public well into the 21st century!

Station Grand Haven History

Coast Guard Station Grand Haven

U. S. Coast Guard Station Grand Haven has a long history of protecting people and property on Michigan’s west coast. This history extends as far back as the mid 1800’s when Grand Haven was established as a fur trading town on the Grand River leading to Lake Michigan.

This story portrays the earliest plights of men willing to become surfman on Lake Michigan. The schooner VERMONT was owned and commanded by Captain A Albee. On December 9, 1860 Captain Albee was running before a late fall storm on Lake Michigan and headed for safe harborage at Port Sheldon. However the heavy seas caused him to miss the channel opening and the VERMONT was wrecked on the bars. The waves proceeded to pound the ship to pieces and the helpless crew headed for the rigging as their last means of survival. First Mate Richard Connell took his and his shipmates fate into his own hands, dove into the surf and swam ashore with a line. Secured on land this life line allowed all 18 of the crew to find their way safely ashore. Eleven years after the VERMONT incident Connell was to become the first Captain of the Grand Haven Life Saving crew.

Grand Have n’s official beginning with the Coast Guard began on May 1, 1877. On this day the U. S. Life Saving Service opened the first station on the north side of the Grand River. This first station had assigned to it one 6 ton self-bailing, self-righting lifeboat, one 6-man surfboat and a life car. Grand Haven’s second station was built just west of the old station. It opened its doors on December 22, 1922 and at this time Grand Haven had its first power boat. The third and present day station is located on the south side of the Grand River along Government Pond. This location is further upriver from the previous two stations. It opened its doors on June 5, 1989.

Today the station has 26 active duty and 10 reserve personnel assigned. They are equipped with a 47 foot Motor Life Boat, a 25 foot Response Boat, a 23 foot Utility Boat, and a 15 foot ice skiff. The station is also home to District Nine’s 47 foot Maintenance Relief Hull. The crew ’s area of responsibility extends on Lake Michigan from Mona Lake north to Pigeon Lake south and the Grand River 10 miles east. Deteriorating we ather increases the crew ’s area to as far north as Stony Lake and as far south as the Kalamazoo River.

In an average year the crew conducts 330 recreational boardings and nearly 100 Search and Rescue cases. These Search and Rescue cases assist over $1 million in property a year.

Over the course of recent years, several lives have been lost to the Lake along the beach and Grand Haven’s pier heads. Station Grand Haven and other local agencies have partnered with the families of those lost to form the Beach and Pier Safety Task Force. This task force has created a video to educate the public and placed life rings along the beach and pier head.

The City of Grand Haven is host to many events in the summer. The largest of the events is the Coast Guard Festival. This event started as a picnic in 1924 as a way to build esprit de corps among the men at the stations along the Michigan lakeshore. Today the festival is a large event run by a private entity with the entire Coast Guard invited to attend. The true focal point of the Coast Guard Festival is honoring the men and women of the United States Coast Guard. Each year they hold the National United States Coast Guard Memorial Service at Escanaba Park to honor all the brave men and women who have given their lives to protect and serve the United States of America.

From the days of Richard Connell through the days of surfmen at the turn of the century, Coast Guard Station Grand Haven has a long distinguished history of battling the unpredictable lake to protect lives and property.

Station Green Bay History

Coast Guard Station Green Bay

The U. S. Coast Guard Station Green Bay has had a long and extensive history in Green Bay, Wis. Until the early 1960’s, the Coast Guard personnel worked out of the old downtown fire house. Then the operation was moved to a one of a kind boathouse that was towed down the Fox River in the spring to the Main St. Bridge and then towed back to its winter storage at an Allouez, Wis. marina. The Station/houseboat were manned by personnel from USCG Station Sturgeon Bay and the famous D9 Summer Stock program. This operation lasted for over 17 years before the houseboat was placed on shore on a small plot of land next to the Green Bay Yacht Club at the mouth of the Fox River. In 1992 the houseboat was finally replaced by the present day building.

In 1982 Station Green Bay was assigned the full time OIC position to work with the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 4- 2 who are responsible for performing the search and rescue missions in the lower Green Bay and Fox River. Flotilla 4-2 started operations in 1961 and has celebrated 45 years of service to the Green Bay boating community. Some of their many areas of service are their boating safety classes, public outreach, and numerous public appearances, all in support of the Coast Guard. Their hard work and dedication to duty for the last 45 years has resulted in touching thousands of local boaters. Flotilla 4-2 in Green Bay is the truest example of what it’s like to be the Boater Friend.

Green Bay, Wis. is a hard wo rking fun loving blue collar town. The folks love the outdoors and spend much of their time enjoying the waters of the lower bay and Fox River by fishing, water skiing or just cruising out to Long Tail Point for the day. Green Bay and the Fox River are well renowned for its great Walleye fishing and over the last few years Green Bay has hosted one of the largest Walleye fishing tournaments in the Midwest. Annually, this tournament brings in hundreds of anglers to Titletown USA in pursuit of thousands of dollars in prize money.

The city’s Fourth of July celebration show makes for the busiest boating week of the year. Mariners from all over Northeast Wisconsin come to Green Bay to enjoy the fireworks show along banks and over the Fox River.

Station Holland History

Coast Guard Station Holland

Located on the south side of the entrance to Lake Macatawa, 1/8 mile east of South Pier Rear Range Light, Station Holland was built in 1885 and is still operational today.

Holland Lifeboat Station was located in the Township of Park, Ottawa County, Michigan. Some land was turned over to GSA in January 1964. Later that same year, more land was transferred to the U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers. A lighthouse had been in operation since 1870. Land for the lifeboat station had been acquired in 1875 and 1884. Currently, a small boat station is located on the northwest corner of Lake Macatawa. The construction of the current building was completed in 1996 and is open during the boating season.

Charles Morton was appointed keeper on April 28, 1886 and was promoted to District Superintendent on November 3, 1898.
Adam N. Weckler was appointed keeper on January 3, 1899 and transferred to Station Ludington on August 14,1900.
Peter Jensen was appointed keeper on August 14, 1900 and transferred to Station South Haven on February 18, 1903.
Chauncey D. Pool was appointed keeper on February 18, 1903 and was discharged on December 26, 1906.
Jacob Van Wielden was appointed keeper on January 11, 1907 and was still serving in 1915.

Station Kenosha History

Coast Guard Station Kenosha

Established in 1878, United States Coast Guard Station Kenosha oversees almost 30 miles of shoreline and roughly 660 square miles of water on Lake Michigan . Station Kenosha operates with a 20 man crew consisting of command members, a supply officer, deckhands and engineers. The station is also supported by the Coast Guard Reserve and an active Coast Guard Auxiliary. Although the station remains operational throughout the year, the summer months offer the busiest season. The members of Station Kenosha work together diligently to execute the primary missions set forth by the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Coast Guard and Sector Lake Michigan. Homeland Security, Search and Rescue, Recreational Boating Safety and Community Service keep the members busy year round .

Every member of the Coast Guard was affected by the transfer from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security, including Station Kenosha. Station Kenosha is tasked with daily patrols and heightened security procedures to accommodate the demands of the Department of Homeland Security. Station Kenosha is outfitted with a 25 foot Response Boat–Small and a 41 foot Utility Boat to carry out these missions. Lake Michigan provides a favorable season for recreational boating resulting in a high volume of vessel traffic. The increase in boaters creates an increase in incidents and Station Kenosha must remain on guard. Station crews are always on alert for distressed boaters and execute approximately 150 Search and Rescue cases a season including, disabled vessels, persons in the water, dive accidents, overdue vessels and boat fires.

An important part of Station Kenosha’s goals is the education of recreational boaters on Lake Michigan. Station Kenosha, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Department of Natural Resources all work together to pursue the ongoing education of the boating public. Through boating safety boardings, vessel safety checks and public classes, the station continues to be proactive in the prevention of boating accidents through public awareness. Station Kenosha is also highly dedicated to monitoring and removing intoxicated boaters from the water and performs approximately 500 law enforcement boardings a year resulting in numerous law enforcement actions and a distinctive presence on both Lake Michigan and the Chain of Lakes. This mission is carried out through the commitment to initiatives aimed at removing intoxicated operators such as Operation Midnight Badger and Operation Southern Badger.

Aside from the duties assigned to Station Kenosha, each member is dedicated to community service. The members of Station Kenosha volunteer to render military honors at the funerals of veterans in the community, donate their time to local food pantries and charity events, speak in classrooms and provide educational tours to the general public and community organizations.

The crew of Station Kenosha are an extremely diverse group that have come together to accomplish the common missions of the Coast Guard. From their daily maintenance of the station and boats to the most perilous rescue efforts on the lake, the crew of Station Kenosha demonstrates their unfaltering devotion to duty. Station Kenosha is an important part of the history and community of Kenosha and the members of the crew value the respect and expectations placed on them by the public. The members of Station Kenosha have repeatedly proven themselves as valuable to the community, the boating public and the Coast Guard and are privileged to serve at Coast Guard Station Kenosha.

Station Ludington History

Coast Guard Station Ludington

During the mid 1800’s the Federal government recognized the need to provide life-saving stations along our nation’s coastline. These stations were comprised of volunteers who manned a single surfboat, rowing it out to aid mariners in distress. Around 1854 many of these boats were sent to the Great Lakes, including two for the Manitou Islands and one for Manistee. These boats came without any equipment, any funding for buildings or maintenance, or any crews. Each community was required to provide everything necessary to operate these craft. Despite the handicaps, these courageous volunteers saved many lives over the next two decades.

By the 1870’s the need for full time, well-trained lifesaving crews became painfully evident. However well meaning the volunteer crews were, it proved impossible to train the crews and maintain the equipment and boats properly. On the Great Lakes alone, there were over 1,100 disasters and 261 lives lost during the 1870 – 1871 season.

In 1874 Congress authorized lifeboat stations to be built at Grande Pt. Au Sable and North Manitou Island. By 1878 lifeboat stations were authorized for Manistee, Ludington, and Sleeping Bear Point. Stations at Frankfort and Pentwater were ordered in 1882, and completed in 1887. The Coast Guard has been standing watch for mariners in distress throughout our region ever since.

The current stations in Ludington and Frankfort were built in 1934, with wooden lifeboats mounted on rails inside the station. As technology prog ressed and lifeboats became larg er and more sophisticated, the boats were kept at the docks near the stations.

As we progress to faster, more capable boats and new more efficient buildings, our crew of 10 full time, four part time, and over 40 volunteer members will continue to uphold the proud tradition of the lifesavers throughout the past century-plus –“Always Ready.”

Station Manistee History

Coast Guard Station Manistee

During the centennial year of 1876, the United States Life Saving Service, a portion of the modern Coast Guard, began operating on the Great Lakes. In response to a rash of fatal disasters in the 1870’s, Congress appropriated $200,000 in funds and called for the establishment of paid crews, new stations and the care and maintenance of equipment throughout the Great Lakes.

In the spring of 1879, when Coast Guard Station Manistee, then known as the U.S. Life Saving Service, first opened its doors, the harbor was rated second only to Calumet Harbor in Chicago in commercial tonnage traffic on Lake Michigan. As lumber and other industries developed along Lake Michigan, the Port of Manistee was a logical choice for the creation of a Life Saving Station.

For 127 years Coast Guard Station Manistee has responded to the needs of the local citizens, merchant traffic, and visitors. Station Manistee has served as a station small, a parent unit to the adjacent stations in Ludington and Frankfort and is now a full Station within the Sector Lake Michigan area of responsibility.

A few years ago when government cost cutting was in full force, Station Manistee was in danger of being closed. The community rallied around and formed the “Save Our Station” m ovement, to lobby and promote the need for the presence of the U. S. Coast Guard in Manistee. The action was successful, thanks to the support given by the community and state officials.

In 2005, the crew of Station Manistee moved into a new 14,000 square foot facility, which includes a full communication center, crew berthing, moorings for the boats, and a large boat bay with the ability to haul the stations 47 foot Motor Life Boat on site. The original station building has been moved twice within the city limits and is now a family home.

Coast Guard Station Manistee, MI. serves primarily as a search and rescue station but also conducts security patrols, law enforcement missions and ice rescue during the winter months. The 19 members of Station Manistee’s crew, utilizing a 47 foot Motor Life Boat and a 23 foot Safe Boat, conduct approximately 65 search and rescue cases and 250 recreational boat safety boarding’s each year, while covering 270 miles of shoreline and 4485 square miles of Lake Michigan.

Station Michigan City History

Coast Guard Station Michigan City

Located at the mouth of Trail Creek and in operation since 1889, Coast Guard Station Michigan City is the sole Lake Michigan unit in Indiana. The Indiana lakeshore boasts sandy beaches and soaring sand dunes that have for generations drawn boaters and beachgoers to its shores. To the west of Michigan City, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore covers more than 15,000 acres of the majestic sand mounds and is one of the more popular tourist attractions. West of the dunes is the Burns Harbor International Port of Indiana, one of the largest and most modern commercial shipping ports on the Great Lakes. The Station Michigan City area of operations also extends northeast into Michigan waters and includes the charming harbor of New Buffalo.

Station Michigan City is a multi-mission unit with a focus on search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, ports, waterways, coastal security and marine environmental protection. The search and rescue mission dates back to the early days of the unit as a U. S. Lifesaving Station in the late 1800’s and remains a primary mission of Station Michigan City. In 2005, the crews responded to 125 search and rescue cases assisting nearly $2 million in property and saving five lives.

The law enforcement boardings conducted on boats in the area focus primarily on recreational boating safety and boating while intoxicated enforcement. Recreational boating safety inspections ensure that the boater has all of the federally required safety equipment aboard for the size of the boat and checks its serviceability and accessibility. The nearly 750 boardings conducted during 2004-2005 have significantly reduced the number of search and rescue cases during the same time period.

After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Station Michigan City took on the important mission known as ports, waterways and coastal security. The mission includes regular security patrols of the critical infrastructure along the Indiana and Michigan lakeshore to identify, report, prevent and protect against potential sabotage by terrorist or insurgent groups. In March of 2003, the Coast Guard joined with many other federal agencies to form the Department of Homeland Security to streamline and improve the focus of these protection activities.

Conducting the vital missions of the unit are Station Michigan City’s 19 enlisted active duty members and seven enlisted Coast Guard Reservists. The ratings represented are Boatswain’s Mate, Machinery Technician, Storekeeper, and Food Service Specialist. In addition, the unit is augmented by the volunteer members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The unit has three different boats assigned. The 47 foot Motor Lifeboat, CG47302, is a heavy weather capable boat that accommodates four crewmembers and five survivors. The boat can endure 30 foot seas and 50 knot winds and if capsized can right itself within a few seconds. The 25 foot Response Boat – Small, CG25511, is a smaller, agile, and highly maneuverable vessel well suited to law enforcement and security patrols. The small 14 foot skiff is primarily used for ice rescue response.

Overall, the crew of Station Michigan City is well equipped and highly dedicated to its missions. Under Sector Lake Michigan, the crew and unit will continue the commitment to the boaters that ply the waters of Indiana and Michigan, just as the men and women of Coast Guard Station Michigan City have done for generations.

Station Milwaukee History

Coast Guard Station Milwaukee

USCG Station Milwaukee was first commissioned as Life Saving Station No. 10, in 1878. When Station Milwaukee was initially constructed, it was the largest small boat station on the Great Lakes and Fourth largest in the Life Saving Service. The original location was in McKinley Park; however by 1886 the Station had been relocated to Jones Island. The station remained on Jones Island until April 17, 1916 until a new station was built in McKinley Marina. The McKinley Marina Station was operational until 1970 when Coast Guard Base Milwaukee was established.

USCG Station Milwaukee and USCG Sector Lake Michigan are currently located at 2420 S. Lincoln Memorial Drive in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Station Milwaukee’s area of responsibility covers 1050 square miles of Lake Michigan. The southern boundary starts at Racine Wis., and stretches north to Port Washington Wis., including Milwaukee Harbor and extending 35 nautical miles to the center of Lake Michigan.

Station Milwaukee’s primary missions are Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement and Homeland Security. Annually Station Milwaukee will respond to over 150 calls for assistance. On average, Station Milwaukee will conduct over 500 Law Enforcement Boardings per year and conducts daily Homeland Security Patrols.

Station Milwaukee is assigned two 41 foot Utility Boats and one 25 foot Defender Class Response Boat. USCG Station Milwaukee was the first Coast Guard Unit to Receive the Sumner I. Kimball award twice. The Sumner I. Kimball Award recognizes excellence in Small Boat Operations and Readiness.

Station Milwaukee is staffed with 23 Active Duty Coast Guardsmen and Women.

Station Muskegon History

Coast Guard Station Muskegon

The United States Coast Guard has been part of the Muskegon Community since 1890 when it first established a station on the north side of the ch a nnel. Over the years the station evolved to meet the needs of the mariner and was even relocated to the south side of the channel in 1905 as the result of channel improvements. The Coast Guard operated out of this facility until 1990 when it was decided that the aging structure no longer met the needs of the service. The station would be reduced from a year round Station to a seasonal Search and Rescue Detachment (SARDET). The SARDET fell under the control of and was staffed seasonally by Station Grand Haven. The old station was turned over to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a more modern structure was constructed that better suited the needs of the service as well as the smaller number of crewman available to maintain the unit. In this form, Station Muskegon’s area of responsibility (AOR) consisted of three inland lakes along a 23 mile stretch of Lake Michigan’s coastline and extended out to mid-Lake Michigan. The unit used one 25 foot Zodiac to carry out its missions.

In August of 2000, the Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) located in Grand Haven were permanently moved to Muskegon to share the facilities with the SARDET. In the spring of 2001, it was decided that the units should be merged into a composite unit known as a STANT and once again fall under its own command. The acronym STANT designates a Station with Aids to Navigation (ATON) response capabilities. ANT Muskegon absorbed SARDET Muskegon and again became Station Muskegon. In the fall of 2003, the station finished a year long rehabilitation of the station and grounds. Station Muskegon is currently one of only six stations in the Coast Guard with both ATON and Search and Rescue (SAR) responsibilities. Trusted to care for these assets, the grounds and the Station’s missions are 22 active duty and five reserve personnel.

Station Sheboygan History

Coast Guard Station Sheboygan

Coast Guard Station Sheboygan is located 50 miles north of Milwaukee and 50 miles south of Green Bay. It consists of 16 active duty members and five reserves. Boatswain’s mate and Machinery Technician are the two rates that make up the station. The Station has a 41 foot UTB and a 23 foot UTL that are used to carry out our missions. On an average we run 50 search and rescue cases and 400 law enforcement boardings a year. The Station’s area of responsibility goes from Port Washington to Cleveland, Wisconsin. We spend numerous hours training to keep our crews at a professional level and strive to be the best at what we do. Station Sheboygan was the champion of the first two Boat Rodeos that Sector Lake Michigan held and placed second in the third Boat Rodeo. During summer months is when the station hits the underway training hard and recertifies in all tasks. During winter months is when the crew trains and recertifies for law enforcement tasks. The crew is actively involved in many public relations in the community. We participate in all parades, Memorial Day ceremonies, Veterans Day ceremonies, Fourth of July ceremonies, funeral services, boat shows, county fairs, the “Rockets for Schools” aeronautical display, Port Washington Fish Days, career days, flag hoists, Koho Derby fishing tournament, Powder Puff Derby fishing tournament, school events, Sheboygan Safety Town, tours of the station, and any other time our services are requested. We also set security zones any time maritime events such as fireworks that take place on the lake. In addition, Station Sheboygan set a security zone for the 2004 PGA Championship that was hosted at Whistling Straights golf course in Haven, WI. During that time the station was used as the forward logistics base for the event.

Station St. Joseph History

Coast Guard Station St. Joseph

Located in southwestern Michigan on the north side entrance to St. Joseph River, Station St. Joseph is the home of 20 active duty crew members, eight reservists and one chocolate Lab named Roscoe. Auxiliary Flotilla 18-10 supports the station throughout the boating season and members from multiple Flotillas fully staff the S. Haven MI AUX SARDET from May through September. Station St. Joseph is a challenging and rewarding unit with a strong sense of pride and accomplishment. Originally established in 1874 and renovated in 1997, this station houses a 47’ MLB, a 25’ Defender Class, a 14’ Ice Skiff and two Auxiliary Facilities. Living up to the Coast Guards’ motto of “Semper Paratus”, the station Station St. Joseph United States Coast Guard patrols an AOR of approximately 850 square miles of Lake Michigan and on average prosecutes 175 SAR cases, conducts 400-450 law enforcement boardings and enforces the permanent security zones for two nuclear power plants.

Some of the great things about St. Joseph are the community events. For example, back in 1979 St. Joseph residents decided to plan a summer festival and decided the event should be focused on the waterfront. They took the name Venetian from the famed lighted boat parades in Venice Italy. Thus the Venetian Festival, and its signature events, was born. Staying close with the community, Station St. Joseph has participated in the three of the last four Lighted Boat Parades. Festival watchers estimate that the four day annual event now draws somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000 plus spectators and participants.

Station Sturgeon Bay/Washington Island History

Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay

Stations Sturgeon Bay, and Washington Island are responsible for the waters surrounding Door County Wisconsin. This includes the waters of The Bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Washington Island is a seasonal station that is manned in the summer months by a mix of active duty members from Sturgeon Bay, and Reservists from around the country that volunteer for the Ninth District’s Summerstock program. Station Sturgeon Bay’s boat assets include one 41 foot UTB, and one 25 foot RB-S. Washington Island has one 30 foot UTM.

On average, the two stations run around 150 SAR cases annually and conduct 400-500 boardings with 28 assigned active duty billets. The station personnel patrol several marine events throughout the summer months including the Fourth of July fireworks in several towns in our AOR, salmon fishing derby’s and the wooden boat show to name a few. Also the station conducts daily HLS patrols of the vital infrastructure located in our AOR. The crew has conducted joint training operations with both the Milwaukee, and Green Bay SWAT teams as well as the Coast Guard crew working with the helocpoter Crew patroling the lake 43 Brown County rescue dive team. The winter months do not mean an end to SAR for the station. In 2005, the station received one of three Ice Rescue Airboats delivered to the Ninth District. Unit personnel conduct HLS Patrols, training, and SAR with this unique craft.

During the winter months the station is also responsible for ice rescue response in Aux. Op Station Green Bay’s AOR as well as covering Washington Island’s area.

Station Two Rivers History

Coast Guard Station Two Rivers

Coast Guard Station Two Rivers is located in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, which is about 30 miles south of Green Bay and 90 miles north of Milwaukee. It is currently billeted for 21 personnel and includes 11 deck, eight engineers, one store keeper and one food service specialist, all enlisted. The OINC position is a BMC with a BM1 as the XPO. Two Rivers is a town with a population of 13,000 people. Manitowoc, located 5 miles to the south, is a city of 33,000 people. Two Rivers and Manitowoc offer nu m e rous sch o o l s, hospitals and va r i o u s stores and restaurants.

Station Two Rivers Area of Responsibility (AOR) extends from Point Creek (17 miles south of the station) to one nautical mile north of Kewaunee (22 miles north of the station). There are several prominent features in our AOR such as: Kewaunee Shoal Light, Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant, Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant, Rawley Point Lighthouse, Two Rivers Pier Heads and water towers and Manitowoc Pier Heads and water towers. The station is also responsible for SAR and L/E on Lake Winnebago, 45 miles to the west.

Station Two Rivers primary duties include Search and Rescue, Maritime Law Enforcement, and pollution response. Our caseload is generally 45-60 SAR cases per year. Our primary resources are a 41 foot UTB and a 21 foot UTL. In 2005, the unit conducted over 500 law enforcement boardings. The station also has the Two Rivers CG Auxiliary and the Neenah/Menasha CG Auxiliary to assist with SAR, public education and marine events on both Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan. In addition to SAR and L/E the station provides security for the 410 foot car ferry BADGER which operates between Manitowoc and Ludington between May and October each year. The station is also involved in numerous community events such as fireworks, festivals, fishing derbies, parades and public speaking and boater education to various organizations throughout the year. Tours of the station are also provided to the various school groups and organizations throughout the year.

Every July the station is involved with the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) event in Oshkosh on Lake Winnebago. This event draws over 10,000 airplanes of every type from around the world and over 500,000 visitors during the seven day event. The CG and the Auxiliary provide security for the float planes that arrive for the show.

Station Wilmette Harbor History

Coast Guard Station Wilmette Harbor

The history of life saving along Chicago’s northshore is long and distinguished. From the student volunteers who rescued victims of the Lady Elgin disaster to the military pro fessionals of the modern day Coast Guard, the tradition is carried on with courage and honor. Though the names and uniforms are different today than in 1860, the dedication and the mission remains fundamentally the same: to protect lives and property along the north shore of Chicago.

Station Wilmette Harbor is located on the north edge of Wilmette Harbor, a scenic private harbor. During the summer months the station is responsible for the safe completion of dozens of SAR and LE cases. With an active duty component of 20 augmented by almost as many reservists and auxiliarists, this is still a huge accomplishment. The many long and arduous hours spent patrolling the 30 nautical mile stretch of shoreline between Waukegan Harbor and Navy Pier are not easy. The crew is frequently stretched thin, especially during the summer months.

Despite the small crew size, shortened operational season and large area of responsibility, Station Wilmette Harbor produced a staggering numbers of law enforcement cases successfully prosecuted in 2004 and 2005. In 2004 the station cited 73 boaters for boating under the influence of alcohol, leading the district and most of the Coast Guard itself.

In addition to a busy LE schedule, the station is an active participant in major marine events throughout the Chicago region. Station crews patrol the waters and enforce safety zones for the Chicago Air and Water Show, the Gary Air Show, Venetian Night and the city’s weekly fireworks displays off of Navy Pier. The station has also participated in the escorting of a Canadian naval warship out of Chicago Harbor and has assisted in augmenting Station Calumet Harbor at the Chicago Maritime Safety Station located in downtown Chicago.

For most of Chicago’s history, the Life Saving Service and later the Coast Guard have patrolled the North Shore. Changing from the group of student volunteers to the trained and capable professionals of the modern Coast Guard,  the history of this station mirrors that of the Coast Guard itself. Though much is different today, including the name of the service and even the building, the dedication to saving lives remains unchanged .

“He that risks his own life to save that of his brother-man, shows himself to be enimated by the highest sentiment of man kind…"

– citation to the student volunteers at Northwestern University in recognition of their heroic actions.

Marine Safety Detachment Sturgeon Bay History

Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sturgeon Bay

Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sturgeon Bay is a multi mission unit responsible for executing the Coast Guard’s Port Safety and Security, Marine Environmental Protection, and Commercial Vessel Safety missions under the Department of Homeland Security.


The MSD’s AOR includes 22 facilities that are subject to the Maritime Transportation and Security Act (MTSA) of 2002, as five oil transfer facilities. In an average year, the MSD AOR receives 150 foreign vessel arrivals of which 80 come from ports in Europe or South America with the remainder coming from Canadian ports. Our area of responsibility extends 35 nautical miles offshore and includes all navigable waters of Western Lake Michigan from the city of Cleveland, Wis., (just north of Sheboygan) north to Cedar River, Mich., (just north of Menominee, Mich.) covering over 300 miles of coastline. MSD Sturgeon Bay is a subordinate unit of Sector Lake Michigan under the Prevention Department since MSO Milwaukee was decommissioned and the Sector was stood-up on July 29, 2005. The MSD coordinates all Marine Safety activities in the northwest region of the Sector’s AOR.


The MSD is billeted with a six person staf f comprised of a Lieutenant Commander, a Lieutenant, two Marine Safety Specialist Chief Warrant Officers, a First Class Marine Science Technician, and a Second Class Marine Science Technician. Currently, the MSD has an over-billet Marine Science Technician Third Class assigned as well. The Marine Science Technicians are charged with conducting the MTSA and traditional Facility Exams, responding to oil spills and vessel casualties, processing foreign vessel arrivals and conducting armed and unarmed shore-side Security Patrols.


MSD Sturgeon Bay’s devoted group of professional active duty personnel protect the busiest and most dynamic port areas in Wisconsin. They perform a variety of tasks each day, ranging from conducting armed port security patrols, processing vessel arrivals, inspecting U. S. and foreign commercial vessels, and conducting waterfront facility exams for compliance with federal regulations. The MSD has three new-construction/repair shipyards in the AOR: Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette, Wis., Bay Shipbuilding Corp. in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., and Basic Marine in Escanaba, Mich. which provide the bulk of the day-to-day related activities. Contrary to what you might think, the winter months are the busy time of the year for the MSD since an average of 16 to 18 U.S. Flagged deep draft vessels “lay-up” in Sturgeon Bay for winter work. The MSD also oversees the repairs and activities on the four to six vessels that “lay-up” in Milwaukee. In recent years, the number of winter vessels has been on the rise with a peak of 25 deep draft vessels in for winter work. This number is significant given that there are a total of only 57 deep draft vessels in the U.S. Great Lakes fleet. This winter work starts around the December timeframe and ends in mid-April. During these months, the Marine Inspectors of the MSD will conduct Annual, Periodic, Certificate of Inspection (COI) and Dry- Dock inspections on most of these vessels. A typical winter Dry Docking will last for two to four weeks per vessel and require between 50 and 100 man-hours of attendance by the MSD’s Marine Inspectors. The MSD Marine Inspectors also oversee the construction of new commercial vessels. Most of the new construction is related to the oversight of new double-hulled oil tank barges that sail internationally. These barges average between 110,000 and 140,000 barrel capacity each for the carriage of Grade A to Grade E oils. In addition, the MSD oversaw the construction of three replacement ferries for service in Staten Island, N.Y. Each of these double ended ferries is capable of carrying 4,425 passengers per trip and cost over $33 million to build.

In addition to the deep draft work, the MSD inspectors also maintain a small fleet of 20 Inspected Small Passenger Vessels located principally in Milwaukee and Washington Island at the extreme extents of the AOR.

Aside from vessel inspections, the remainder of the day-to-day work is centered on Homeland Security related duties with the 22 MTSA Facilities, foreign vessel arrivals, and patrols. The MSD does maintain a sufficient number of qualified boarding officers and boarding team members with its own compliment of small arms. In the past two years, the MSD has partnered with local Police, SWAT, Sheriffs, Customs & Border Protection and FBI SWAT organizations for deep draft boarding training. The MSD has coordinated such training for over 150 LE officers to date and maintains close contacts with these partners to maintain an effective network for rapid response in the event such actions are needed for Homeland Security issues.

In an average year, the MSD also responds to 12 oil spills, two hazardous material releases, and at several vessel groundings/collisions/ allisions throughout the northern portion of the AOR.

Marine Safety Unit Chicago History

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago

Marine Safety Unit Chicago is an operational Coast Guard command under Sector Lake Michigan located in Burr Ridge, IL, which performs Captain of the Port, Officer in Charge Marine Inspection, Federal On-Scene Coordinator and Federal Maritime Security Coordinator functions. Generally, the Marine Safety Unit administers U. S. and international laws and regulations relative to commercial vessel safety, marine transportation, marine environmental protection, port safety, port security, waterways management and carries out general Coast Guard military readiness duties.

Marine Safety Unit Chicago’s personnel:

• Protect the marine environment by preventing pollution of the navigable waters by oil and other hazardous materials. Supervise and control the containment and removal of such pollutants.
• Investigate reported discharges and enforce the applicable provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended by the Clean Water Act and CERCLA (Superfund).
• Conduct inspections of U. S. and foreign flag vessels to determine compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations relative to construction, equipment, manning and operation, ensuring a seaworthy condition of vessels for the services in which they are operated.
• Conduct shipyard inspection and factory inspection of material and equipment for vessels.
• Investigate marine casualties, accidents and injuries, violations of law, negligence, misconduct and incompetence of merchant vessel personnel.
• Conduct suspension and revocation proceedings against merchant mariner’s documents and licenses. Represent the gove rnment at hearings befo re Administrative Law Judges.
• Foster port safety and security to safeguard vessels, harbors, ports, waterfront facilities and associated personnel from accidents, loss of injury, destruction and disaster.
• Review marine regatta and firework permits and establish safety zones where necessary to protect the public.
• Prevent introduction through the port of contraband and/or other articles adverse to national security.
• Marine Safety Unit Chicago’s area of responsibility covers Lake Michigan south from the Wisconsin- Illinois border running east to the Indiana – Michigan border, including 186 miles of the Illinois Waterway System and tributaries which connect the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River System (Illinois Waterway System components include 86 miles of the Illinois River south to Lacon, Ill., 17 miles of the Des Plaines River, 11 miles of the Chicago River, 42 miles of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, 17 miles of the Calumet Sag Channel and 13 miles of the Calumet and Little Calumet Rivers).

2420 S. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee, WI. 53207
(414) 747-7100
Site constructed by: LTJG Christopher D. Meyer, Sector Lake Michigan

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Last Modified 12/16/2014