Program Summary

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From the Auxiliary National Response Department (with some D1NR editorial changes):

The Boat Crew Qualification Program

Surface Operations and the Boat Crew Qualification Program are the heart of many flotilla activities.  Crewmembers and Coxswains are qualified in accordance with the current Auxiliary Boat Crew Training Manual COMDTINST M16794.51A  The Coxswain requests and receives orders for a patrol that is multi-mission in nature. Patrols are carried out in accordance with the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual COMDTINST M16798.3E.

Crewmember Qualification

After completion of training (Auxiliary Boat Crew Qualification Guide, Volume I: Crew Member COMDTINST M16794.52A) and having  knowledge and skills approved by a Qualifications Examiner, an Auxiliary member may be certified by the District Director of Auxiliary (DIRAUX) as a Crewmember in the Boat Crew Program. Crewmembers perform their duties under supervision of a Coxswain.  They stand helm, lookout, towing watches and anchor watch as well as other tasks that may be directed by the Coxswain.

Coxswain Qualification

A Coxswain will have been trained as a Crewmember and, beyond that, will have mastered additional knowledge and a number of other skills (Auxiliary Boat Crew Qualification Guide, Volume II: Coxswain COMDTINST M16794.53A). Most importantly, a Coxswain will have developed leadership and decision making skills in high stress situations through both experience and training. After approval of knowledge and skills by a Qualifications Examiner,  a particular Coxswain may be certified by the DIRAUX to receive orders for an operational facility (OPFAC).  The operational facility used for a patrol must have been inspected and  "offered for use" by completion of the appropriate form. That offer must have been "accepted" by the DIRAUX. Often, but not always, the vessel offered for use belongs to the Coxswain who receives the patrol orders.  

The Coxswain is responsible and in charge of the boat and crew during the patrol for which Coast Guard orders have been issued.  The Coast Guard places great trust in the Coxswain's ability to provide leadership, coordination and risk management skills in the execution of an ordered mission. 

Personal Watercraft Operator Qualification

An Auxiliarist who meets knowledge and skills performance standards as approved by a PWC Qualifications Examiner may be certified as an Auxiliary Personal Watercraft (PWC) Operator.   These standards are set forth in the Auxiliary Boat Crew Qualification Guide, Volume III: PWC Operator, COMDTINST M16794.54A. A PWC Operator  is eligible to receive orders for patrols using a PWC that has been offered for use and accepted as a PWC facility.   

Currency Maintenance

Currency maintenance insures that members maintain their proficiency and ability to safely perform their duties. Coxswains and Crew are required to be underway at least a certain number of hours annually, and to perform a set of tasks with a Qualification Examiner every third year.

Team Coordination Training

To enhance and maintain skills inherent to the teamwork needed for safe and well-executed patrols, Crewmembers and Coxswains are required to attend training seminars called "Team Coordination Training."  Updates are required every five years (every two years for Qualification Examiners).  Team Coordination Training stresses six personal skills:  adaptability/flexibility, assertiveness, communication, decision-making, leadership, and situational awareness in order to minimize risk during the execution of tasks during a patrol. 

Orders - Authorization for Patrols

Orders for facility movement, whether for vessel or aircraft movement, or land mobile radio facility activation and/or movement is one of two general kinds of orders that may be issued to Auxiliarists.  Such orders are considered "assignment to duty."  These orders may be either written or verbal, and may be reimbursable or non-reimbursable. Orders are issued by an "Order Issuing Authority" or OIA, which is usually a Group or Sector. (Small Boat Stations are not OIAs.) Auxiliarists may not use any facility or special purpose facility for any Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary purpose or mission unless appropriate patrol orders have been issued and the facility has been properly offered and accepted for use.  The Patrol Order Management System (POMS) is the mandatory method of issuing patrol orders to operational facilities.  This system is an online web-based tool.   An OIA must issue or authorize orders before an Auxiliarist conducts any patrol activity. 

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