Hart urges strong response to Coast Guard plans to reduce staff at Wachapreague

April 18, 2024
Wachapreague Coast Guard Station

Supervisor Donald Hart took his text on Coast Guard plans to reduce operations at Wachaprague at the Accomack County Board of Supervisors last night.

Hart said “This is an attempt to close the Coast Guard Station at Wachapreague. Wachapreague has charter boats, work boats and recreational fishermen. Now you have a Coast Guard boat that nobody uses. What’s going to happen is that when there is an emergency the Coast Guard will have to come from Chincoteague or around from Cape Charles or all the way from North Carolina.”

Hart said “we need to raise some hell and put some political pressure on the Coast Guard.” Hart said that he thinks this is the fourth attempt of the Coast Guard to close the station and that if the Coast Guard leaves, the Army Corps of Engineers will no longer maintain the channel having a devastating economic effect on Wachapreague.

Supervisor Jeff Parks said that we need to temper our arguments to make sure we have the facts. He said ‘I support the effort but we need to get information on the number of rescues because without that data we won’t have an argument. It needs to be factually based if we expect our elected representatives to respond.”

Supervisor Billy Joe Tarr, a Coast Guard veteran and the former head of the Wachapreague Station said ” If you want to change the situation, you need to go through your congressional representatives. Contacting the Commendant will not do the job. They will likely ignore it.”

A motion was made to have the County Administrator to write a letter to Congresswoman Jen Kiggans and Senators Kaine and Warner strongly opposing the actions by the Coast Guard.

Hart said “we must make it a very strong letter. Anything less will be ignored.”

The Coast Guard issued a news release earlier this month that said the reductions at Wachapreague are temporary and the result of recruiting difficulties that all service branches are encountering.

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