PALLONE SAYS COAST GUARD PLAN TO MAKE SHARK RIVER STATION SEASONAL IS UNACCEPTABLE
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today said he opposes plans by the Coast Guard to make the Shark River Coast Guard Station, in Avon-by-the-Sea, a seasonal station. The changes would mean the station, which is currently open year-round, would instead open a week before Memorial Day and close September 30th each year.
To ensure that the concerns about this suggested schedule change are addressed, Pallone has organized a public forum where community members and concerned individuals can join him in questioning Coast Guard representatives about the proposal and the effect it would have on the Shark River area. The forum will be held on Wednesday, August 8th at the Shark River Station, located at 125 Washington Avenue in Avon-by-the-Sea, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
"I oppose this unnecessary closure of the Shark River Coast Guard Station during the off-season months because it will result in diminished search and rescue coverage for our shore that could mean the difference between life and death," Pallone said. "Last year alone, there were 13 search and rescue cases documented during the off-season period. If the Shark River Station had been closed during this time, as the Coast Guard is now proposing, these cases would not have been handled in a timely manner."
The New Jersey lawmaker noted that while the volume of boat traffic is greater during the summer months, the off-season brings some of the worst weather and most dangerous conditions at sea. Pallone called the Coast Guard's proposed reduction in services unacceptable. He also expressed concern that this might be a first step by the Coast Guard toward closing this station permanently.
After being advised of the proposal last month, the New Jersey congressman requested a meeting with the Coast Guard in his Washington office. On June 26th, Pallone met with Coast Guard Rear Admiral Robert Parker and expressed his opposition to the proposal. The New Jersey congressman also requested that the Coast Guard join him at a town hall forum to explain the proposal, answer any questions, and listen to potential concerns from area residents.
Ten years ago, the Coast Guard proposed a similar plan that would have closed the Shark River Coast Guard Station on November 15th for the winter season. The New Jersey congressman was successful in fighting that proposal and for the past decade the station has been staffed with search and rescue support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.