Approximately 1,400 athletes participated in the international Ironman competition at Clearwater Beach, Florida on November 11, 2006. Athletes came from 39 countries and over 47 States. U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Division 11, was proud to be a part of this prestigious event.
The Auxiliary provided seven boats, with skilled personnel, to create a safety barrier for the swim portion of the competition. The boats formed a perimeter around the mile and a two-tenths swim course to discourage any other vessels from going through it while swimmers were in the area.
The athletes were on scene to practice from 8 A.M. to 11 A.M. on both days preceding the big day. The Auxiliary was there an hour before and an hour afterwards, to provide safety coverage for the swimmers. Seas on the first day of practice were quite rough but calmed down for the next days practice, and for the competition on the third day.
Competition day started with the Auxiliary on station at 6 A.M. and the swimmers entering the water at 7 A.M. Support for this was so strong, that one of the Auxiliarist trailered his boat over 60 miles to participate. There were a few instances where the Auxiliary had to intercept a wayward boat, but everything went extremely smooth and all swimmers enjoyed a safe competition.
Division 11 of the USCG Auxiliary, the volunteer arm of the Team Coast Guard, stretches from Clearwater in the south to Hudson in the north. Over three-hundred members strong, Division 11 provides support for the Coast Guard and contributes hours of support in marine and air patrols. In 2005, the latest year for records, that number of hours was over 40,000 . This figure encompasses not only marine and air patrols, but also activities such as free boat examinations, radio watch standing, and numerous boating safety classes.
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