A United States Coast Guard citizen volunteer in western Kentucky says the federal shutdown has affected the safety of Kentucky’s inland waters patrolled by volunteers.
Bill Husfield and his wife are members of the USGC Auxiliary Flotilla 8-5 which does safety patrols of Kentucky Lake at the request of coast guard officials in Paducah. These patrols help with tasks like stranded boat operators and maintaining navigational buoys.
Husfield said volunteers like himself are usually reimbursed by the coast guard for gas money on these trips. But he said coast guard officials are limiting the number of patrols because they can’t pay back volunteers due to the shutdown.
Husfield said limited patrols could make Kentucky Lake and Kentucky’s other inland waters less safe.
“We’re out there to observe. In some cases when we are out there, we find people in difficulty, and we would help them or whatever have you. But we’re not doing that now,” Husfield said.
He said this problem extends to lakes and rivers across the country usually patrolled by coast guard citizen volunteers.
Other USGC volunteer flotillas in Kentucky are located in Paducah, Lexington, Northern Kentucky, and Louisville. The U.S. Coast Guard is one of several government agencies that is furloughed because of the shutdown, with some active duty members missing paychecks.