Veteran Auxiliarist Active Statewide
By Manny Romero
For Ron Werner, boating in the desert is a constant test of boating skill — skill he has perfected through nearly a dozen busy years in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. A member of the Phoenix unit (flotilla), Werner joined the Auxiliary to sharpen his boating ability and to learn better boating practices.
He quickly took advantage of training opportunities by completing an intensive navigation course. Since then, Werner has earned competencies as boat crewman, instructor and vessel examiner. He doesn’t hesitate to say that his most rewarding experiences have been on the water helping fellow boaters.
In that regard, Werner and his wife Rose (likewise crew qualified along with competencies as a vessel examiner and marine dealer visitor) routinely patrol the rugged desert lakes around Phoenix. The Werners also assist on Lake Powell patrols several times a year, since the division’s area of responsibility (AOR) extends to southern Utah and to the Colorado River between Arizona and California.
Other aspects of Auxiliary membership that Werner finds worthwhile are opportunities for leadership roles. He served as flotilla commander last year and is currently the staff officer responsible for vessel checks. The unassuming Werner will only say modestly that he “jumped in where needed.”
He feels strongly about the value of his Auxiliary experience, calling it “very rewarding, very good.” And, the 56-year old Werner is quick to recommend membership to boaters of all ages, saying it gives “a heads up” to newer boaters and will ensure positive skill development for those with more time on the water.
The huge desert area that comprises Werner’s backyard offers plenty of logistical challenges. Distances between lakes can be considerable — it is more than 300 miles from Phoenix to Lake Powell, for example.
And, of course the intense summer heat can take its toll. On the Werner’s most recent Lake Powell patrol during the July 4 holiday, daytime highs rarely dropped below 100 degrees.
Moreover, six of the 10 lakes in the inland region of the Auxiliary’s four state district 11 South are in the top 14 most dangerous waters for boating accidents in the U.S., according to Michael Johnson, rear commodore inland — for the district.