1:10 PM: Thanks to the texter who tipped us about a U.S. Coast Guard vessel close-in off Alki Beach a little while ago. We went over for a photo and discovered it’s with the USCG Aids to Navigation Team (here’s what they do). We have a message out to the USCG in hopes of finding out what it was up to, so close to shore. Also in the area, according to MarineTraffic.com, two other USCG vessels – buoy tender USCGC Henry Blake (which we last mentioned after receiving a photo in 2014) and USCGC Midgett.
ADDED 7:30 PM: Thanks to Anne Noonan for the photo of the Midgett (and the Olympics). Meantime, USCG public affairs is checking on what the ANT crew was doing so close to shore – check back here tomorrow.
ADDED THURSDAY: From the Coast Guard:
Their crew aboard the 55-foot Aids to Navigation Boat (ANB) was training while they were out. The set out a temporary buoy and simulated servicing it, then ran a few engineering drills.
All of the buoys we’re responsible for are on a regular servicing schedule, where Aids to Navigation (ATON) units will pull the buoy out of the water, check the wear on the buoy itself, the chain and the sinker, either a rock or a dor-mor (sinkers are a large cement block the other end of the chain is attached to. A dor-mor is a pyramid shaped piece of cast iron, these are typically used by the ANT teams, while sinkers are used by the cutters) and replace parts as needed.
Regarding a few points in comments:
There are only four small boats in the entire Coast Guard that have names and all are stationed in our district. Those are the 52-foot Motor Life Boats, Triumph II in Ilwaco, Washington, Invincible II in Westport, Intrepid in Charleston, Oregon, and the Victory in Newport. All our other small boats are referred to by length and type (e.g. 29-foot Response Boat-Medium II). So within the service we just refer to the 55’s and either the 55’s or an ANB.
As for the Midgett, it was not on fire … That was just it working. As for what they were doing, the crew recently wrapped up work on one of the main diesel engines and was conducting a sea trial of it.
They were scheduled to be back out today – though we didn’t make it down to the water, so we didn’t see firsthand.