News Releases

Murray Announces New Assets for Port Angeles Coast Guard Station

Jul 02 2002

Additional rescue boats, infrastructure to improve search & rescue capability in Strait of Juan de Fuca

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – In order to improve Coast Guard search & rescue operations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Coast Guard station at Port Angeles will soon receive five additional vessels, Sen. Patty Murray announced Tuesday.

Murray, who as Chair of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee writes the Coast Guard's annual budget, said that two 87' patrol boats, and three small response boats would be stationed at Port Angeles. A 41' utility boat currently employed for aviation training will be transitioned to a search and rescue asset.

Port Angeles will also receive additional funding to allow it to upgrade to a fully equipped, 24-hour boat and helicopter, search and rescue station, capable of responding to incidents throughout the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound.

This has been done in response to concerns about the adequacy of search & rescue assets in the Port Angeles and Port Townsend areas. The Coast Guard was previously considering relocating assets from Station Quillayute River to Port Angeles.

"These vessels will significantly improve the search and rescue capability of the Coast Guard throughout the Strait of Juan de Fuca," said Sen. Murray. "We count on the men and women who serve in the Coast Guard to do dangerous yet vital work to protect our coastline. I am proud to help these men and women who are so important to a maritime state like Washington."

Currently, Coast Guard Group/Air Station Port Angeles maintains three helicopters, one 110' patrol boat and one recently commissioned 87' patrol boat. Later this month, another 87' boat will arrive, and over the course of the next year, the three response boats will be stationed at Port Angeles. Finally, a second 87' boat should arrive by early 2004.

"Providing the Coast Guard with the assets it needs remains one of my top priorities," said Murray who wrote the legislation that increased the Coast Guard's budget by 10 percent last year. "I am grateful to the Coast Guard Commandant for responding to the concerns raised by me and others in the Puget Sound to increase assets at Port Angeles."

Tomorrow, Murray will be the keynote speaker at the commissioning of the first Coast Guard Marine Safety and Security Team (MSST) in the country, which she was instrumental in procuring for the Puget Sound.

In last year's Defense Appropriations bill, President Bush requested 2 MSSTs, but Murray increased funding to cover 4 MSSTs and required that one be stationed in the Puget Sound.