On behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD, I submit in opposition to USCG-2020-0042 titled “Consolidation of Redundant Coast Guard Boat Stations,” which proposes to consolidate and shut down U.S. Coast Guard Station Oxford, located in Oxford, MD (“Station Oxford”). CBMM appreciates the opportunity to submit comments in opposition to USCG-2020-0042, and implores that you consider the impact that USCG-2020-0042 would have on the Eastern Shore.
CBMM believes the closure decision would be detrimental to all Eastern Shore residents, and the safety of CBMM’s own on-the-water programming. A nearby Coast Guard station means greater safety on the water. Since CBMM operates vessels with thousands of museum guests and K-12 school children on field trips on waters near this Coast Guard station, safety is diminished if Oxford Station is closed, and the next nearest station has a longer run to reach us.
Currently, the next closest station is Annapolis. When CBMM operates on the Miles River, the Annapolis and Oxford stations are roughly equidistant. But response times from Annapolis are much slower if the Bay crossing is dangerous.
When CBMM is operating on the Choptank, such as during the Oxford log canoe races or the Cambridge skipjack race, the Coast Guard in Annapolis will have a much longer response time. We have often seen Station Oxford visibly present for the Oxford regatta, and we appreciate them–and we have repeatedly said so to the young Coasties. Their visible presence tempers the behavior of other boaters.
CBMM appreciates your consideration of this opposition to the consolidation of Station Oxford. CBMM hopes that the very serious issue of boater safety–for people of all ages–will cause you to reconsider the consolidation of Oxford Station. Closure of Oxford Station would be extremely detrimental to the health and safety of the entire marine community on the Eastern Shore, and particularly the public programming offered by CBMM, which is essential to CBMM’s mission.
Kristen Greenaway is the president of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum