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All eyes were on the residents of Mastic Beach and it’s vote of destiny. Passions were inflated high on both sides of the issue whether-or-not to keep Mastic Beach a village. It all boiled down to money and the cost of running the village, and for most, it was unaffordable and unsatisfactory. People who supported the village and opposed the village were on opposite sides of the street in a hotly debated issue with bullhorns blasting their deeply seated beliefs in their cause. Other news media were there such as News 12 and Verizon News to record the showdown and to get statements from both sides of the battle. “Tonight, we hope people recognize the value to have local control,” says Frank Fugarino, who hoped the village would continue in its local control and cleanup issues. Some can be heard chanting “Get your slumlords here,” implying the village is needed to clean up negligent landlords. The other side had statements like “This village was based on lies and it’s time to go,” says Jenifer Lucas. Chants like ”Na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye” can be heard from the people holding up red signs saying “Yes Dissolve the Village”. MBPOA member Catherine Kobasiuk also stated “Six years ago, they sold us a bill of goods and it’s never been a real government.” After the voting ended, residents anxiously waited outside the firehouse for the results, but the bubble burst and the hopes and dreams of keeping the village were dashed. For most others, though, a relief when the results finally came in after 10:30 PM. As it stands, the Village of Mastic Beach will dissolve and has just 180 days to finalize.

by Vincent T. Pica, II
Commodore First District, Southern Region (D1SR) – United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Obviously, the most top-of-mind danger that all mariners face is drowning. We live, work and play in a marine environment – a hostile marine environment, if one is not careful. And, even you are careful, things happen. This column is about that.
An Ounce of Prevention
Is better than a pound of cure so bear the following in mind. First, we must all be wary of hypothermia. The symptoms to look for in others or yourself are the actions of someone who seems to have been drinking heavily – except they haven’t been. Clumsiness, slurred speech, poor fine motor skills, crankiness… Actions you can take to prevent getting hypothermic are:
1. Keep dry, spare clothes aboard. They can even be added on top of wet clothing if need be…
2. How’d your clothes get wet? Could be from “working the boat” in foul weather or, worse, you fell overboard. The only thing worse than falling overboard is not getting back aboard! More on this below…
3. To help yourself immeasurably, always wear your life jacket. Inhaling cold water is a killer and that will be very hard NOT to do if you are under water…
4. Stay away from booze, period. Unlike the St Bernard rescue dog stories, booze doesn’t help you survive hypothermia.
He Fell Off The Dock And Never Came Back Up
How many stories have you heard of over a lifetime where a seemingly minor event, like falling off a dock due to stumbling and landing in cold water, results in an almost incomprehensible death by drowning? It happens and it shouldn’t. How come the victim couldn’t help themselves?
Cold Shock/Gasp Reflex/Dry Drowning
Years ago, while training with my son to be part of a USCGAux Cold Water team, we all received a workshop on a developing understanding of something called “Cold Shock” or the “Gasp Reflex.” Scientists and doctors were just becoming aware of why someone could drown “instantly” upon hitting the water. Basically, in water below 70-degrees F, which we are certainly boating in during the early months of the Spring and late months of the Fall, a number of nearly instant and deadly things can go wrong, even if you fall just a few inches from the dock to the water:
1. Even with your head above water, a splash of cold water in your face from a boat’s wake as it cruises by you can cause you to involuntarily inhale water, which is a killer. Not swallowing in down your throat into your stomach but inhaling it into your lungs. This is the “gasp reflex.”
2. In some people, the reaction doesn’t get that far into their bodies. They hit the cold water and, as soon as it touches the back of their throat, it closes up. The spasm stops the water from getting into the body, which is the biological intent, but it also stops air from getting to the lungs. The person bobs back to the surface (their lungs are full of air) and they suffocate in the open water, unable to breathe due to a blocked air passageway. This is what is now called “dry drowning.” There is no water in the lungs. Nor is there any oxygen. I’ve seen a BoatUS report that stated that 15-20% of all drowning are “dry drowning’s.”
3. When the difference between your body temperature and the water temperature is greater than 30-degrees, the chance of a heart attack from the sudden immersion goes up dramatically.
4. Even something as simple as a racing heart from shock and fear can create hyperventilating on the part of the victim. Dizziness followed by unconsciousness results as the ratio of oxygen/carbon dioxide changes in the victim’s blood system.
So, if you survive all this, then you will have to deal with the potential effects of hypothermia. Remember, despite all our advances in science and technology, our bodies can survive only in a pretty narrow range of internal core temperatures. How about those aches and pains you feel in your muscles when you get cold? A drop of only 1.5 degrees from good ol’ 98.6 is all it takes. A few more degrees, say 5 or 6, and you’ll stop shivering because now your body can’t shiver anymore – there isn’t enough energy in your body to shiver, much less climb into a boat or onto a dock. Another four or five degrees from there and the heart is now struggling to gather enough energy from your internal core to beat…
So, if you fall in, get out..!
BTW, if you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at JoinUSCGAux@aol.com or go direct to the D1SR Human Resources department, who are in charge of new members matters, at DSO-HR and we will help you “get in this thing…”

Filed in: U.S. Coast Guard Auxillary

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