PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) – The U.S. Coast Guard station at Holland State Park may be closed by next summer as the agency works to consolidate operations nationwide.

The USCG did the announcement in June via the Federal Register. There are two stations in the Great Lakes region that are at risk of being closed: Holland Station and North Superior Station in Minnesota.

The US Coast Guard station near Holland on July 7, 2021.

“Each of these stations is considered to be small stations. They are only seasonal stations, which means they all have what we call mother stations. The teams that equip these stations in summer come from larger stations. In the case of Holland, this crew and this boat spend most of the year in Grand Haven and they only move during the summer months, ”explained Lt. Paul Rhynard of the Great Lakes region of the United States. Coast Guard.

Rhynard said if Holland Station closed, all operations would be moved permanently to Grand Haven Station.

“The logic of these stations was based on horse-drawn carriages, using labor. There were no planes, there were no motor boats, moreover, even at this stage, ”he said.

The Coast Guard said closing Holland Station would impact response times, but wouldn’t mean people on the water are more at risk. Rhynard said local police and firefighters are normally the first to the scene of a water rescue anyway.

“When you look at how search and rescue was conducted over 100 years ago and how it is today, and the technology and the ability to respond to those areas faster than ever before, it is also a factor, but at the end of the day there are very few situations on the Great Lakes, let alone in Holland, where we are the only organization on the water to intervene, ”said Rhynard.

The announcement has raised concern from some residents of the Holland area who say it is not the right decision.

“It looks like last summer and this summer every three weekends or so we will see paramedics or sheriffs (deputies) quickly flying over vehicles, which we can assume they are going to the beach for a ride. kind of emergency, ”said Gregory Tarr, homeowner on Ottawa Beach Road. “I don’t care how fast the boat or the helicopter or what they do to get people here, it’s not going to be fast enough. Seconds count in these kinds of incidents and if it wasn’t important to be here, (the station) wouldn’t have been there since the late 1800s.

The decision to close the station is not final. The Coast Guard says it is accepting comments from the public through the Federal Register by clicking on the word “comment” above the document on the left side of the page. Residents have until August 3 to submit their comments.

“At the end of the day, if we thought we were increasing the risk to boaters by doing this gesture, we wouldn’t be doing it at all,” said Rhynard.

The latest call will come from Washington, DC The Great Lakes region of the Coast Guard has said it expects to have a decision by the next boating season. The station will remain open until the end of the year.

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