U.S. Coast Guard works to educate community about the agency

Hundreds of miles of river are patrolled by a Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit of 26 members. 

"This is one of the biggest areas I’ve covered in my Coast Guard career," said USCG Marine Safety Unit Paducah Boatswain’s Mate Kyle Metzer.

Unit members like Metzer search the area, enforcing the law and looking out for hazards in the water to keep his crew and boaters safe.

"The Coast Guard wears lots of different hats," said Marine Safety Unit Paducah Response Chief Kyle Coleman.

Coleman says the Coast Guard’s presence in Paducah is small compared to larger, coastal cities.

"They’re dealing with more frequent events, more frequent search and rescue cases, drug cases,"  

Commanding Officer Mark Sawyer says that means many people in our area don’t even know what his crew does.

"The level of exposure most people have to the Coast Guard is few and far between," Sawyer said. 

While the Coast Guard says it has a small presence in this community, it covers a huge area of 470 miles of area waterways.

The Coast Guard maintains those waterways, Sawyer says, and works with other agencies to perform rescues on them. On Wednesday Sawyer invited media out on a boat in an effort to show the community exactly what the agency does.

"If they understand our missions, they can help us in achieving our goals," Sawyer said —goals to keep our waters clean, and you safe.

The Coast Guard does have a phone app you can use to help you navigate the waterways, find the latest safety regulations or report an emergency. To find out how you can download it, head to the USCG website.

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