Station Closure Would Negatively Impact Entire South Shore
SCITUATE — Scituate Town Administrator James Boudreau reports that local and elected officials throughout the South Shore will be gathering tomorrow to rally against the proposed closure of Scituate’s seasonal Coast Guard station.
Tuesday, Aug. 31, starting at 10:30 a.m.
Scituate Harbormaster’s Office, 100 Cole Pkwy., Scituate, MA
Speakers confirmed for the rally include:
- Congressman Stephen F. Lynch
- Congressman Bill Keating
- James Cantwell, Massachusetts Director for Senator Ed Markey’s office
- Farrah Ridore, South Shore Regional Director for Senator Elizabeth Warren
- State Senator Patrick O’Connor
- State Representative Joan Meschino
- State Representative Patrick Kearney
- Scituate Town Administrator James Boudreau
- Plymouth Town Manager Melissa Arrighi
- Marshfield Harbormaster Michael DiMeo
Other local leaders who will be on hand for the event include:
- Duxbury Town Manager René Read
- Kingston Town Administrator Keith Hickey
- Cohasset Town Manager Christopher Senior
- Cohasset Select Board members Keri Thompson (Chair) and Diane Kennedy
- Scituate Select Board Chair Karen Connolly
- Marshfield Town Administrator Michael Maresco
The plan to close the seasonal U.S. Coast Guard station in Scituate — along with three others across the country — was announced by the U.S. Coast Guard in June. The closure of the Scituate station would have drastic, negative impacts on communities along the entire South Shore coast.
As part of the “SOS – Save Our Station” rally, the communities of Cohasset, Duxbury, Hull, Kingston, Marshfield, Plymouth and Scituate will be joining together to voice their concerns over what the closure would mean to the region.
“You often hear the phrase ‘every second counts’ when talking about police and fire response times, and these words are most certainly the case when it comes to water rescues,” Scituate Town Administrator James Boudreau said. “There are several communities that rely on this Coast Guard station during an emergency, when time is of the essence and lives are at risk. If this station is closed it will increase the amount of time it takes to respond in a rescue situation. It’s as simple as that.”
According to the Coast Guard’s 2020 Recreational Boating Statistics Report, there were 767 boating fatalities nationwide in 2020, a 25.1 percent increase from 2019. The report states that there is evidence that boating activity increased significantly during the pandemic.
If the Scituate station closes, the nearest Coast Guard location for many communities would be the station located at Point Allerton in Hull. This would lead to a potential response time of more than an hour for a community as far south down the coast as Plymouth, which would likely greatly reduce the USCG’s ability to arrive in time in the event of a water emergency.
The Scituate station is operational from before Memorial Day to just after Labor Day, during the time when the greatest number of people are out in the water swimming or on boats. There are thousands of boats along the coast, and multiple drownings have already occurred off the coast of Scituate this year alone with other emergency responses happening along the entire region. The Coast Guard provides valuable assistance to local first responders during such incidents, as well as providing routine patrols along the coastline throughout the day.
“We have relied heavily on the Coast Guard this year to assist us during rescues, just as we do every year,” said Marshfield Town Manager Mike Maresco. “There is simply no way to make up for what the loss of the Scituate station would mean. It is by no means an exaggeration to say that the station helps us save lives.”
In their official proposal calling for the closure of the four stations, the Coast Guard stated the closures were due primarily to the proximity of the stations to other nearby USCG stations, making those stations slated for closure as “redundant” and “unnecessarily duplicative” when compared to those in the area.
“The Coast Guard has stated that a primary reason for the station closures is because they, ‘respond to a low number of cases.’ When you look at the number of rescues and emergency responses the Scituate station takes part in over the course of a given season, I cannot see how that number can be considered insignificant,” Plymouth Town Manager Melissa Arrighi said. “Even if one person were to die in a water emergency because of a lack of proper response, that would be catastrophic. Make no mistake, this station provides a critical service time and time again throughout the South Shore.”
Local and state leaders will be providing additional information on the importance of the station at Tuesday’s rally, and will be available to take questions from members of the media.
The rally will be held outdoors at the Scituate Harbormaster’s Office. Those who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 are urged to wear a facial covering for the duration of the event.