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Featured Image: The Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal seen from a Coast Guard helicopter in late August 2003 near Catalina Island. The 87-foot patrol boat was underway when photographed. Photo: Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard District 11

By Breeana Greenberg

More than 400 people this past Saturday, April 2, came out to the Ocean Institute, where the Dana Point Flotilla of the Coast Guard Auxiliary offered tours of the Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal and opportunities to meet the crew of the warship.

The event was scheduled to run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but it continued until 5 p.m. There was more than a one-hour hour wait to get on board, Ocean Institute Public Programs & Volunteer Manager Sara Vaughn said.

“We had 422 people join us for tours of the Narwhal throughout the day,” Vaughn wrote in an email. “This was a huge hit and a wild success educating over 400 people on the Narwhal and the (U.S. Coast Guard).”

The Auxiliary also held a boating safety pop-up during which it provided information on boater safety, proper use of safety equipment, federal and state requirements, as well as information for those interested in joining the Dana Point Auxiliary. 

The purpose of the event was to “raise the public’s awareness of the boating safety activities we do and the services that we offer,” Dana Point Flotilla Commander Garry Nelson said. 

The auxiliary offers courtesy vessel exams to point out deficiencies if a boat doesn’t meet regulations and gives a sticker to boats that do pass, to put on their windshield to alert the Coast Guard that the vessel has passed the exam. The volunteer group also assists the Coast Guard in marine observation patrols.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary hopes to bring the Narwhal back to Dana Point later in the summer. In the meantime, the Dana Point Flotilla offers weekly boating safety classes, held each Wednesday night at the Dana Point Yacht Club.

Kicking off National Safe Boating Week on May 21-22, the Flotilla will have a pop-up booth on the walkway at the Embarcadero.

More information about joining the Dana Point Flotilla of the Coast Guard Auxiliary can be found on the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s website.

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at

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