The Boat Crew course requires extensive classroom, dockside, and on-the water training. It is also a physically demanding program and requires an ongoing time commitment after certification. Boat Crew members perform their duties under supervision of a Coxswain. Crew members participate in safety, search and rescue, Navigation Systems (ATON), and marine safety patrols. Members may volunteer during emergencies, have extended days on the water during inclement weather or be tasked to multi-day patrols. The course is taught throughout the entire year and is available to any BQ member. Material presented includes: line handling, navigation, night patrol, radio communication, first aid, emergency drills, towing, and marlinspike. Team Coordination Training (TCT) qualification is required. Passing the course requires successful completion of a dockside oral exam and demonstration of on-the-water skills before an experienced Qualification Examiner.
High level requirements:
Requirements of this extensive program are outlined in the Auxiliary Boat Crew Qualification Guide, Volume I: Crew Member, COMDTINST M16794.52 (series).
An extension of the Boat Crew program involves the more extensive Coxswain training regimen which qualifies an Auxiliarist to lead Auxiliary patrols and other events. Qualified coxswains serve as small boat commanders, and those that complete this rigorous operational training are considered to be the top notch mariners in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Students must complete a series of written and underway (practical) examinations following thorough training in navigation, boat handling, small unit leadership, incident command, operations policy, federal and international regulations, and a variety of other relevant disciplines.
Members considering Coxswain training must be qualified as Boat Crew, with a minimum of 28 hours underway and show a deep understanding and skill appropriate to Coxswain training. Members should also be recommended for Coxswain before undertaking this certification path.
High level requirements:
Requirements of this extensive program are outlined in the Auxiliary Boat Crew Qualification Guide, Volume II: Coxswain.
The PWC (Personal Water Craft) program is similar to the boat crew and coxswain programs. PWC-qualified personnel operate personal watercraft on Auxiliary patrol orders. Just like the coxswain, the PWC Operator is in charge of the facility, and is responsible for the safe operation and navigation of the PWC as well as carrying out the assigned mission.
High level requirements:
Requirements of this extensive program are outlined in the Auxiliary Boat Crew Qualification Guide, Volume III: PWC Operator.
The world of Aviation is exciting, fast paced and demanding. It is also potentially very dangerous. The most important aspect of the AUXAIR program is flight safety. The various rules and regulation necessary to insure safety are spelled out in the Aviation Training Manual (CIM_16798_5B) and in the Federal Aviation Regulations.
Although AUXAIR flight operations may involve more rules and regulations than those that other private pilots must follow, they are designed to give us a greater margin of safety while performing missions more demanding than most general aviation operations. District Aviation staff members hold regular training workshops and activities to keep AUXAIR aviators up to date on issues involving AUXAIR administration, operations and safety.
When flying for AUXAIR under orders, qualified Auxiliary pilots, while assigned to duty, are considered to be Coast Guard pilots and Auxiliary aircraft, while assigned to authorized duty, are deemed to be Coast Guard aircraft. This means that, to be a member of AUXAIR it's not enough just to know how to fly; AUXAIR pilots must be able to fly the Coast Guard way. This entails a greater level of thoroughness in flight planning, in airmanship, in crew coordination and in all aspects of flight safety. It also involves certain procedures and paperwork, all of which is necessary for AUXAIR to perform its function of assisting the active duty Coast Guard.
When AUXAIR flies, we have extra safety equipment and extra safety procedures to offer greater protection than the average general aviation pilot may have. However, the most important piece of safety gear each AUXAIR aircraft can have on board is a well-trained crew.
To become involved in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Aviation program (AUXAIR), applicants must complete the Auxiliary Air Operations Training Program. The first step a person interested in AUXAIR should take is to get in contact with a member of the Aviation Department Staff, (ADSO, DFSO or DSO) in their District. The AV Staff member will make sure that the prospective aviator has the correct information on how to proceed through the qualification process.
The specific qualification standards for the AUXAIR program are detailed in Annex 2 of the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual COMDTINST M16798.3E. In general, the qualification process involves study of the appropriate manuals, passing a written test (or tests) on the contents of those manuals, and demonstrating the ability to perform various tasks.
The importance of contacting a member of the AV-department staff cannot be over emphasized. Although the requirements for participation in AUXAIR are spelled out in detail, they may be obscure or confusing to those not already familiar with the Auxiliary or with the field of aviation.
Aviation is a relatively small part of the Auxiliary, which is, of course, primarily about boating safety. It's important that prospective aviators remain in contact with the "Aviation Experts", on the AV-department staff, to insure that they are guided through the qualification process correctly.
After all tasks have been completed, including any required evaluation flights, all records must be sent to the Coast Guard District Director of Auxiliary for certification before the member may participate as a member of a flight crew.
If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in joining us in AUXAIR, please feel free to contact any member of the AUXAIR staff at any time. If you are not part of an "air" Flotilla, speak with you Flotilla Commander to get you connected with the AUXAIR leadership in your District.