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"Yukon Coastie 2010" Successful
August 3, 2010

In an effort to increase safety in rural communities, members of the American Society of Safety Engineers’: (ASSE) Midnight Sun Chapter, out of Fairbanks, joined with the Alaskan Coast Guard Auxiliary recently to visit and educate, for the first time, rural residents in villages located along the Yukon River. Titled the “Yukon Coastie 2010” project, Midnight Sun Chapter member, former chapter president, and student section faculty advisor Marie M. Scholle, CSP, joined with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in providing safety and health education to the residents as well as demonstrating safety with “Coastie” the Safety Boat. Coastie is a remote controlled robot boat used for youth education and boating safety programs.

These efforts by members of ASSE, occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professionals, helps the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary, District 17, in their ongoing efforts to develop rural community outreach programs and meet the chapter’s, and the SH&E professionals’, goal to protect people, property and the environment.

Many months prior to the trip, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary met with tribal and community village leaders to obtain permission to go to their villages and also to discuss opportunities on providing key safety education to residents in Yukon villages which rely heavily on the river for transportation, using outboard powered boats to travel to fish camps, hunt, fish, gather firewood, and a host of other activities most would do by motor vehicle.

Operation “Yukon Coastie 2010” was the first of its kind for the USCG, the Auxiliary and the ASSE chapter. It was a challenging project logistically, but worked out well in not only sharing boater, work safety information within rural Alaska, but also creating an ongoing safety dialogue, encouraging cooperation and understanding between all involved.

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