Scituate Coast Guard station saved after months of rallying by local officials, residents
The Patriot Ledger October 1, 2021
SCITUATE, Mass. (Tribune News Service) — The Scituate station of the U.S. Coast Guard has been saved from the chopping block several months after local officials and residents spoke out against its closure.
Multiple sources confirmed to The Patriot Ledger on Friday morning that plans to ax the station have been dropped. The Coast Guard first announced plans to close four stations across the country in June, and elected officials from across the region immediately warned of longer response times in emergencies and strained local resources.
“I think it’s a very dangerous and volatile situation to close the station,” Marshfield Town Manager Mike Maresco said in August. “We’ve had a number of rescues this year off our coast and we’ve relied heavily on the Coast Guard. This will make things more challenging.”
Spokespeople for the Coast Guard said closing the Scituate station would not impact the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to calls. They said the Point Allerton Station, based in Hull, would be able to absorb the impact, but town officials from Cohasset to Plymouth said they weren’t so sure.
“We are deeply concerned about what we see as increased response times from the Coast Guard,” Scituate Town Administrator Jim Boudreau said in August.. “We have more boaters, and more accidents on the water because of more boaters, storms of greater intensity that seem to be more frequent, and the response is to increase response time? Seconds count on the water. Anything that increases response time puts the public at risk.”
Even in ideal weather conditions, it would take the Coast Guard roughly 25 minutes to reach the mouth of the North River from Hull, Boudreau said. But many calls to the Coast Guard occur during storms or in choppy weather, which extends the time the Coast Guard could reach a vessel in distress.
Marshfield Harbormaster Mike DiMeo said in September, “This is search-and-rescue season when there are more people on the water. Seconds matter.”
A number of South Shore officials gathered at the station last month to criticize the planned closure, including U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch.
Lynch, Congressman Bill Keating and U.S. Senator Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren wrote to Coast Guard First District Commander Rear Admiral Thomas G. Allan asking him to reconsider his plans and not count Scituate as a “redundant station.”
“Considering the increase in boater activity and the legitimate response time and distance concerns raised by the local officials, we respectfully request that the Coast Guard reconsiders its decision to consolidate Station Scituate and works with the South Shore communities to reach a mutually beneficial outcome,” wrote the lawmakers in their letter.
Patriot Ledger reporter Joe Difazio contributed to this report.
©2021 The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.).
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.