Blaine resident Davis Bogue has found happiness on the water.
More specifically, Bogue, 66, said he has found a hobby in his retirement, serving in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Blaine flotilla, a branch of volunteers who augment the U.S. Coast Guard.
For Bogue, joining the auxiliary has been a way for him to keep active and engaged in his retirement years. It has also helped keep him on the water, something that “gets in your blood.”
“I’ve been on the water all my life so I’ve decided to get back on the horse, so they say,” he said. “I kind of got sidetracked with being married and having a family and then when my time became a little more available, it sounded like the appropriate way to go.”
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary branch was established in 1939 by an act of Congress and designated as an auxiliary in 1941.
Members are not paid a salary and participate in drills or missions at their own discretion. Auxiliarists who own a boat, aircraft or radio station often use their own equipment, although they are reimbursed for expenses, fuel, oil and insurance by the Coast Guard.
With more than 30,000 members nationwide, it has provided support to official Coast Guard missions as well as offer low-cost boating safety classes and free vessel safety checks to recreational boaters.
Bogue, a transplant from California, joined the auxiliary in 1996 in Sacremento after retiring from his job as a real estate broker. He said he left his career when he started noticing indicators of a real estate “bubble” and quickly left the business to start investing in the stock market, a decision he later regretted.
“I thought I was really smart and ahead of the game and I invested it all in the stock market,” he said. “That was really brilliant.”
On one of his first rescues, Bogue said they had received a phone call from a concerned boat dealer who recently sold a boat to an inexperienced young couple. The dealer said the two could not get their boat to run properly and were stuck in the midle of Lake Folsom near Sacremento.
When they arrived at the scene, they saw the boat trailer was still attached to the boat.
“That was probably one of the funniest, most unbelievable experiences I’ve had,” he said.
Bogue said he’s experienced fewer incidents during his time in the Blaine flotilla.
“The boaters out here on the oceans tend to be more experienced than in the lakes and rivers,” he said.
In 2001, he and his wife moved to Blaine after visiting and noticing the area’s beauty and proximity to some of the best boating areas in the country.
“The boating around here is just fabulous,” he said. “It’s one of the best boating areas there is. We already owned a condo up here so we could visit our daughter who lives here and when we retired, we just moved here.”
The Blaine flotilla of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary was established in 2000 and has approximately 50 local members that patrol a wide swath of waterways. Most of the members are retired as they tend to have more time to devote to volunteering, but Bogue said there has been a recent influx of younger members ranging from 20 to 50 years of age.
Another benefit is members can get qualified as crew members and assist on patrols with the official branch. He added that because the auxiliary is a volunteer organization members can devote whatever time they have available.
About eight years ago, the Coast Guard extended the abilities of auxiliary members to conduct on-the-water training exercises in addition to classroom training.
The Coast Guard estimates these volunteers have saved more than 5,000 lives, assisted more than 140,000 people and saved more than $1.4 billion in property.
“On the water, we’re the police, firefighters, ambulance driver and some times the tow truck driver,” he said.
Blaine resident and auxiliary member Randall Kall said their services have become even more important since a lack of boater education has been linked to a rise in recreational boating fatalities.
The fatality rate, a measure of the number of deaths against the number of registered recreational boats, increased from 5.3 deaths per 100,000 boaters in 2007 and 5.6 deaths per 100,000 in 2008.
“It’s a gratifying thing, whether you’re teaching a class on boating safety or helping somone out on the water, it feels as if you’ve done something at the end of the day,” he said.
For more information about the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary program, visit www.cgaux.org