Coast Guard officers teach boating and water safety


Photo by Chloe Tinker

Petty Officer third class Danielle Devore talks about the usefulness of wearing a life jacket during her visit to Galena schools.

By LYDIA CHUNAK and RAYMOND BELL, staff writers

Two lifeguards from the U.S. Coast Guard came to Galena to talk with students about water and boating safety and protecting themselves from drowning.

Petty Officer second class Michael Warhurst and Petty Officer third class Danielle Devore showed students how to use life jackets, talked about hypothermia, and showed a video about water survival.

Mr. Warhurst said Alaska has a “pretty decent boating culture” and that it’s important for a child or young person to know what to do if he or she falls into the water. He added that he hoped that the students who learned about this would share that information with other students.

The Coast Guard officers were in Galena on March 23 and 24. They spoke with elementary and high school students.

During an interview with the Hawk Highlights, Mr. Warhurst, 27, said he has been stationed in Anchorage for the past two years. Ms. Devore, 25, has been in Juneau for the past two and a half years.

This is the first that they’ve visited this year. They’re headed to Koyuk next.

Other Coast Guard officers are visiting other Alaskan schools teaching about boating and water safety, Mr. Warhurst said.

Mr. Warhurst told students hypothermia is a threat facing all Alaskan boaters. He talked about the 1-10-1 rule, which means that a person falling into the water needs one minute to get breathing under control, needs 10 minutes to get the attention of another person, and finally has one hour in order to find a way to get out of the water or stay warm in the water.

The officers gave out treats, coloring books, and lanyards for students in the Galena classes.