Island tour

Hundreds of tours of the USCG Coast Guard warship Cutter ‘Narwhal’ at the Ocean Institute

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The featured image: The Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal seen from a Coast Guard helicopter in late August 2003 near Catalina Island. The 87ft patrol boat was en route when it was photographed. Photo: Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard District 11

By Breeana Greenberg

More than 400 people this past Saturday, April 2, turned out for the Ocean Institute, where the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Dana Point Flotilla offered Coast Guard tours. Narwhal and opportunities to meet the warship’s crew.

The event was scheduled to run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but continued until 5 p.m. There was a wait of more than an hour to board, said Sara Vaughn, manager of public programs and volunteers at the Ocean Institute.

“We had 422 people join us for tours of the Narwhal throughout the day,” Vaughn wrote in an email. “It was a huge success and a wild success, educating over 400 people on the Narwhal and the (US Coast Guard).

The Auxiliary also hosted a boating safety pop-up during which he provided information on boater safety, proper use of safety equipment, federal and state requirements, as well as information for those interested in joining the Dana Point Auxiliary.

The purpose of the event was to “educate the public about the boating safety activities we conduct and the services we provide,” said Dana Point Flotilla Commander Garry Nelson.

The Auxiliary offers courtesy reviews of vessels to flag deficiencies if a vessel fails to comply with regulations and gives successful vessels a sticker to affix to their windshields to alert the Coast Guard that the vessel has passed the exam. The volunteer group also assists the Coast Guard in maritime observation patrols.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary hopes to bring the Narwhal return to Dana Point later in the summer. In the meantime, the Dana Point Flotilla offers weekly boating safety classes, held every Wednesday evening at the Dana Point Yacht Club.

To kick off National Safe Boating Week on May 21-22, the Flotilla will have a pop-up booth on the Embarcadero’s walkway.

More information about joining the Coast Guard Auxiliary Dana Point Flotilla can be found on the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary website.

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Prior to joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance journalist for the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at

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