BEAUMONT, Texas — On Thursday, people got a glimpse of the type of boats and equipment used by the U.S. Coast Guard.
It was part of the transport week with the Port of Beaumont.
The Port of Beaumont is the largest petrochemical port in the United States and one of the Coast Guard’s jobs is to protect incoming and outgoing vessels.
The US Coast Guard is the sole military branch of the Department of Homeland Security. Members help monitor the waters off the Texas coast.
They are responsible for everything from commerce to search and rescue operations.
All along the Texas coast, members of the US Coast Guard monitor the water daily.
In our region, this means being vigilant to protect our ports and vessels entering and leaving the Sabine Neches Waterway.
“This is the largest petrochemical port in the nation, and we are doing our job to prevent and respond to all emergencies, calls and protect incoming and outgoing vessels,” said Chief Petty Officer Connor Marshall.
This week for the first time the Sabine Coast Guard Station joined the Port of Beaumont for a show and tell. Everything coincides with transport week.
“Boating safety is very important to the Coast Guard,” Marshall said. “We do a lot of border and security zone patrols. Checking life jackets, it is very important to wear life jackets. We do a lot of that here at the station.
Marshall gave people the chance to see four different boats and the Houston station helicopter.
Sabine Station covers from Beaumont Harbor approximately 50 miles after the Sabine River opens into the Gulf of Mexico.
They also deal with emergencies like that oil rig fire at the Sabine Pass shipyard, which happened in February.
That was their reaction at the time.
“Just a little more difficult in terms of where we were going to pick people up on the lift platform and how we were going to get them off the platform safely with what was going on,” said Marshall.
The Coast Guard was able to rescue nine workers who say they were lucky to be alive.
“The only way out for them was to call in a helicopter,” Marshall said. “We went to the scene, there was no ladder to get them down and we couldn’t use the crane. So we ended up calling the air station, and they responded within 30 minutes.
Coast Guard rescues span the entire Texas coast, from Galveston to Port Aransas and even to the border. Marshall said it was important to share their mission.
“It’s important to involve the public in what we do,” Marshall said.
The Coast Guard also organizes educational events at public fairs, festivals and parades.