Coast Guard safeguarding waterways here, abroad - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

USCG safeguarding waterways here, abroad

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When an emergency occurs, your first call may be to 911 or a local law enforcement agency. But what if the emergency happens when you're on the water?

Here in Lake Charles your first call can be to the United States Coast Guard.

The United States Coast Guard: another branch of the military here to protect you. Lake Charles houses two separate units of the Coast Guard, one being the Small Boat Station. The station is a 36 man unit, with all members enlisted.

"We're self sufficient," said Petty Officer Levi Denham. "Most units, they just do one mission. We actually do three things at a station. We train, maintain and operate."

All types of training takes place at the station for their men and women. And when they're not training, there's a good chance they're on patrol.

"Our guys go out looking for anything suspicious," said Petty Officer Denham. "We look for any type of law enforcement to be conducted. We look for anything that could be an issue for the port like blocked navigable waterways and/or boat accidents, anything you can think of, people in distress. We're looking for things like that."

At the small boat station, the US Coast Guard boats are also maintained. That includes anything from being repainted, resurfaced, or anything else on the boats that just needs routine maintenance.

"They pay for these boats for us and we take care of them," said Petty Officer Denham.

The Coast Guard's job is to protect our waterways across the United States.

"At any coastal place that's federal in any nature or form, we usually have an asset or unit, like a Marine Safety Unit, there that has boat forces attached to it," said Petty Officer Denham.

And on any given day, the Small Boat Station can be called upon to do anything that involves waterway protection.

"Any type of call we get for assistance, we'll go out and lend a hand or do the mission that's required at the time," said Petty Officer Denham. "Sometimes it's law enforcement. Sometimes it's just defending facilities. Sometimes it could be search and rescue."

The Small Boat Station is manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The station is also available to do checks on your personal boats to make sure they are safe and secure before heading out on the water.

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