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  • Feature Story
  • What's New in Reno Flotilla 3
  • Reno Flotilla Leadership
  • Calendar

Planning Your Route, An Important Safe Boating Skill

Although most boaters in the Sierras don't typically need to plan a route on area lakes, it is useful to think through the steps needed to make a safe voyage. Larger bodies of water, like Lake Tahoe, do have hazards that must be taken into consideration when boating. Lake Tahoe, for instance, has many rocks that lie just below the surface and must be considered. Lake Tahoe has plenty of water currently but during drought years many a boater has run aground entering Emerald Bay outside of the entrance channel. So, even at Lake Tahoe, it is helpful to review the chart before heading out.

Most boaters will at some time or another travel to larger bodies of water such as the San Francisco Bay or Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest. These areas present hazards such as commercial ship traffic, changing tides, currents and other hazards. GPS, an invention of the U.S. Federal Government, and freely available to anyone with a GPS receiver has revolutionized travel whether by highway or boat. GPS chart plotters are highly accurate. In 1995 when GPS was first available, it was accurate to within a 100 feet or so. It now is accurate with the new generation of satellites being launched by the U.S. Government, to within two to three feet! Despite this, planning your route with a paper chart has its merits. Studying your route the day before helps in avoiding obstacles in unfamiliar areas.

Denman Island Ferry

This green light was noted on the waterway between Vancouver Island and Denman Island.

Denman Island Ferry

Boaters travelling through the passage between Vancouver and Denman Islands might not notice the small, green light on shore.

Denman Island Ferry

A short time later the light on shore turned red. This was followed by a warning announcement on VHF channel 16.

Denman Island Ferry

It then was clear what the green and red lights on shore meant. This BC Ferry was travelling between Vancouver Island and Denman Island. Since the ferry is restricted in its ability to maneuver it has the right of way. But this ferry is not a standard ferry, it is a cable ferry. The ferry has cables attached to its bow and stern pulling it in either direction. If boaters ignored the warning and had not studied the charts they might have travelled behind the ferry and collided with the tow cable.

Denman Island Ferry

A closer view shows the cable towing the ferry across the waterway. When the ferry is not active the cable sinks to the bottom of the passage. This could cause a problem with a boater trying to anchor in this area.

Denman Island Ferry

This view shows clearly the path of the ferry (image courtesty of GPS Nautical) across Baynes Sound. The official Canadian Hydrographic chart clearly shows that this is a cable ferry. Canada requires carriage of their official charts produced by the Canadian Hydrographic Services. Like NOAA charts in the United States these are of high quality.

Reviewing the charts ahead of time would have revealed the presence of the cable ferry route and significance of the shore side light. Listening to the VHF radio was helpful in that the BC Ferry system warned of the advancing cable ferry.


National Safe Boating Week 2018

wear it logoMay 19th to May 25th kicks off boating season with National Safe Boating Week. This annual event is sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council.

Our Flotilla, the Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary support recreational boating safety. This year we are participating in two events that support National Safe Boating Week. The Reno Flotilla will have a booth at the local West Marine store in Reno on Wednesday, May 23rd through Friday May 25th. Flotilla 3 representatives will be there to answer questions about vessel safety, life jackets and safe boating practices. On Saturday, May 26th, our Flotilla will have a Vessel Safety Check station at Lake Almanor. This free and voluntary check station allows boaters the opportunity to have their vessel checked for compliance with state and federal requirements. This check is strictly voluntary and is intended to offer education to boaters about the safety of their vessel.

Coast Guard statistics for 2016 show that most boating fatalities occur among boaters who 1) don't wear a life jacket 2) and have never taken a boating education class. Don't be that person! Take an approved boating safety class and wear your life jacket!

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Graphics courtesy of National Safe Boating Council.

Trans Tahoe Swim

John Boyne, Coxswain at Trans Tahoe Swim

Reno Flotilla Coxswain John Boyne mans the helm of the The Melroy during the Trans Tahoe Swim on July 22nd. Reno Auxiliarist Tom Temkin watches the swimmers during the event. Lake Tahoe is always cold, even during the summer, and swimmers can become incapacitated by cold water immersion syndrome. Our Flotilla members also watch for boats that might cross the swim line potentially jeopardizing those in the water.

Boats participating in the Trans Tahoe Swim

Several hundred support boats participated in the event. Since the event is a relay race, there are six swimmers onboard each vessel. This event is sponsored by the Olympic Club in San Francisco.


4th of July at Lake Tahoe

4th of July

Reno Flotilla Auxiliarists Keith White (L) and John Boyne (R), patrol at Incline Village prior to the beginning of the annual fireworks show.

Pyramid Lake Patrol

Pyramid Lake Patrol on Reno Flotilla 3 Vessel, The Melroy

Reno Auxiliarists, Brian Ah Sam (L) and Keith White (R) patrol Pyramid Lake. Pyramid Lake is well known to have changing weather and sea conditions. Many boaters under estimate the hazards at this lake. The Reno Flotilla regularly does maritime observation patrols at the lake assisting boaters who may be in distress. Flotilla members patrolling Pyramid are well equipped to patrol the lake. Cold weather exposure suits, distress mirrors, personal locator beacons and whistles are some of the equipment Auxiliarists take on patrol to maximize their safety so that they may better assist the publi

Presentation of Award at Plumas County Board of Supervisors Meeting

Operation Safe Boat Award Presented at Plumas County Board of Supervisor's Meeting

During a meeting of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors in November of 2015, Reno Auxiliarist Peter Rast (L) presents a Boating Safety Award to Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood (center) and Assistant Sheriff Gerry Hendrick (R). The Plumas County Board of Supervisors (background) stand behind (both literally and figuratively!) Hagwood and Hendrick who were supportive of Operation Safe Boat conducted at Lake Almanor. Thanks to Sheriff Hagwood, Assistant Sheriff Hendrick, and the Plumas County Board of Supervisors, the event was a tremendous success! Our Flotilla looks forward to participating in this annual event.

Operation Safe Boat Award

Retired Plumas County Sheriff's Office Boating Safety Deputy

Bud Wasson (center) receives a Boating Safety Award from Reno Auxiliarists Peter Rast (L) and Keith White (R). Bud was a Reserve Deputy Sheriff & Boat Patrol Officer with the Plumas County Sheriff's Department. In 2013, he along with Reno Flotilla's Peter Rast and Keith White, were instrumental in starting the first Operation Safe Boat event. The California Highway Patrol, the National Forest Service, the California Department of Fish and Game and Pacific Gas & Electric also helped with the event. One of the main core tasks of the Coast Guard Auxiliary is Recreational Boating Safety. During Operation Safe Boat, the group conducted voluntary boat and trailer checks at Lake Almanor. Lake Almanor is the fifth largest lake in California. Since the first event, the Reno Flotilla has annually participated in Operation Safe Boat.

Stand Up Paddle Board Race at Lake Tahoe

Reno Auxiliarist Tom Temkin looks for paddleboarders in distress

The annual Fall Classic Stand Up Paddleboard race was held amidst smoke filled skies on September 13th at Lake Tahoe. Reno Auxiliarist Tom Temkin watches for paddleboarders in distress. Later during the event, a paddleboarder was found five miles from the finish line who was exhausted and complained of muscle cramps. He asked for help since he was unable to complete the race. Temkin and Reno Auxiliarist Tom Komadina helped the paddleboarder onto Reno Flotilla 3's boat, The Melroy, and transported the paddleboarder to the nearest safe harbor at Kings Beach.

Gear for Stand Up Paddleboard Participants

Stand Up Paddle Board Racer in 2015 Fall Classic at Lake Tahoe

The waters at Lake Tahoe can be unforgiving. Last year a paddleboarder drowned after he fell off his paddleboard 100 yards off shore near Sand Harbor. He was not tethered to his paddleboard as this boarder is. The paddleboard drifted away and he was unable to catch up to the board. In addition, he was not wearing a life jacket. This boarder is well prepared for the race. He has a life jacket attached to his waist, a tether to his paddleboard so that should he fall off it will not drift away from him, and he has a water supply on his back so as to rehydrate during the race.

This years race was complicated by markedly limited visibility. The smoke from fires in California have drifted over the lake and visibility was limited for most of the day to less than one nautical mile. Some race participants lost their way and the four Coast Guard Auxiliary boats helped direct them.

Reno Facility, The Melroy

During the last two weeks of June, members of the Reno Flotilla worked on the hull of The Melroy. The Melroy is a 1986 Boston Whaler and was in need of a new hull coating and graphics. Nine members of the flotilla sanded the hull, filled in redundant through hull penetrations and recoated it with four coats of an epoxy barrier coat the following weekend. The boat was then taken to a sign painter for new graphics. We are proud of the results and this should keep our search and rescue boat in good condition for years to come.

Tom Temkin, Keith White and Ron Kelley observe the Melroy being lifted so that the entire hull could be sanded

Keith White (L), Tom Temkin (middle) and Ron Kelley (R) observe as Mike Lawrence carefully raises the Melroy so that it can be blocked and the hull completely sanded.

Keith White and Mike Lawrence discuss the sanding of the hull

Mike Lawrence (L) and Keith White (R) discuss the sanding of the hull of the Melroy.

Ron Kelley does fiberglass repair on a redundant through hull penetration

Ron Kelley repairs a previous through hull penetration that was allowing water to enter the core of the hull. Ron previously worked at a marine repair shop in Connecticut and ably repaired our boat for us.

Thanks to Reno Flotilla members John Boyne, Mike Lawrence, Ron Kelley, Tom Komadina, Bryce Leinan, Bill Stolz, Keith White, Tom Temkin and Paul Miner for getting the boat back in great condition!



Reno Flotilla 3 Leadership 2018

The Reno Flotilla voted for our new leadership for 2018. Our new flotilla commander is Bryce Leinan. Bryce has been a member of the Reno Flotilla since 2011. Bryce is a graduate of the University of Nevada - Reno and has bachelors and masters degrees. Bryce is one of our radio communications operators and is a vessel safety examiner.

Bryce Leinan Flotilla Commander

Our Flotilla Vice Commander is Peter Rast. In addition to being our vice flotilla commander, Peter is our flotilla staff officer for communications.

Peter is a graduate of the University of California - Davis holding a bachelors degree in electrical engineering. He subsequently obtained a masters in science degree in Forensic Science from the University of New Haven. He also holds MBA degrees from Northcentral University and Pepperdine University. Peter has a long career in auto collision forensics as well as serving Plumas County as a deputy sheriff. He also has been a commercial pilot and volunteered with the Civil Air Patrol for over 20 years.

Vice Flotilla Commander Peter Rast

Our Flotilla is good hands with these two able Auxiliarists! We all look forward to working with them this year.




Reno Flotilla Missions

Some of the primary missions of the flotilla include Public Education and Training, offering Safety Patrols for a variety of on-the-water events, Aids to Navigation Verification, Vessel Safety Checks, and Member Training.

As a member of the Flotilla, you can participate in supporting these and other missions.  The rewards from membership include the honor of working as an integral part of and alongside the United States Coast Guard, providing service to the boating community, getting great traiing and experience, and enjoying the fellowship of the Auxiliary.

Join the Flotilla

The Reno Flotilla is a volunteer organization. We are supported by the United States Coast Guard and other local agencies such as the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and by the generous contributions of our members. We strive to promote boating safety through our rigorous training and dedication to service.

You can become a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Contact our Human Resource staff officer listed on the Staff Officer List.

Next Business Meeting

Business meetings are scheduled for the third Monday of each month at 7 PM at the Scheels Store at 1200 Scheels Drive in Sparks. These are public meetings. You are always invited to attend and meet the members and officers of the Flotilla as our guests.  See the Flotilla Calendar for specific dates.