Earlier this month the U.S. Navy cancelled appearences scheduled for it's world famous precision flying team the Blue Angels which impacts both the annual Hillsboro Airshow and Seattle's Seafair. The Navy said it was forced to make that decision because of cuts to the military budget. Today the United States Coast Guard announced a similar move saying they will not be providing ships for the Portland Rose Festival Fleet or the Seattle Seafair.
In a news release the Coast Guard states: " Recent fiscal reductions, due to the Budget Control Act of 2011, have resulted in reduced Coast Guard participation in community outreach programs in 2013".
Rear Adm. Keith A. Taylor, commander of the 13th Coast Guard District. "We are reducing our participation in various community events to focus our funding on highest priority missions. We will continue to maintain our valuable relationships with the Pacific Northwest communities and will remain 'Always Ready' to answer the call."
Cancelling cutter and air asset visits is one of many steps the Coast Guard is taking to preserve the Coast Guard's ability to meet the highest-priority mission activities, including search and rescue, critical security operations, and emergency response.
The Coast Guard says it will continue to provide safety zones and maritime enforcement during both events. The Coast Guard believes there is value in demonstrating the capabilities of their assets, and will assess participation in future events on a case-by-case basis as
the Coast Guard's budget permits. The Coast Guard locally usually participates in the Astoria Regatta Grand Land Parade and several other events by sending a rescue helicopter to do a flyby of the parade route. As the Coast Guard is considering this kind of participation
on a case-by-case basis, again budget permitting, it is not clear if those flybys will be allowed this year and Chief Robert K. Lanier, USCG Asst. Public Affairs, Officer 13th Coast Guard District told KAST News that those fly-bys and rescue demonstrations that have been a
regular feature locally for many years would be considered case-by-case along with all other requests for participation. Astoria Regatta President Peter Roscoe told KAST News that conversations are going on with local Coast Guard to see if it would be possible to work
those events into the normal training matrix of activities when it comes to the rescue swimmer demonstration and the fly-bys could be treated as a routine patrol function for the helicopter crews.