Inside the Story: Utah doesn't have a coast, but it does have the U.S. Coast Guard

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Inside the Story: Utah doesn't have a coast, but it does have the U.S. Coast Guard (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Did you know the U.S. Coast Guard patrols the waters here in Utah?

"We really get a lot of strange remarks and a lot of strange looks when we tell people that," said Lana Visser, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The men and women of the uniformed civilian branch of the U.S. Coast Guard have been patrolling Utah waters since 1958.

"It's a well-kept secret," laughed Pamela Berger, who oversees one of the crews.

The auxiliary team helps with boating safety, boating education, search and rescues, rescuing stranded boaters, and more.

"By us doing this type of stuff--helping over vessels and towing them in-- it leaves the rangers free to do their other duty," Berger said.

Berger has been volunteering her time on weekends and holidays for this team for nearly 36 years.

"There is great satisfaction in helping somebody that is not having a good day," Berger.

A husband, wife, and daughter even turned the volunteering into a family affair.

Mike Thompson joined first, convinced his wife, Michelle to get on board, and then their daughter signed up.

"We have time together to talk, we have time to go out and help people," said Michelle Thompson.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary members have all the official training and uniforms, but no law enforcement power.

"We don't carry weapons, no law enforcement at all," said Berger. "We are strictly boating education and boating safety."

There are 87 members of the auxiliary team patrolling seven different lakes in Utah.

Anyone 17 years old or older can join the ranks.

If you're interested, visit this website.

They work most weekends and holidays during the summer.


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