Coast Guard breaks ground on new Tybee Island search and rescue facility

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:41 AM EST
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - There will soon be a brand new state of the art facility on Tybee Island for the men and women who protect our waters.

Coast Guard Station Tybee crewmembers held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new 25,000 square-foot multipurpose building on Wednesday. In attendance were crewmembers from Coast Guard Sector Charleston, Coast Guard Cutter Pompano, and Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Tybee Island.

Master Chief Petty Officer Eric D. Risner, the officer-in-charge of Coast Guard Station Tybee, says this facility will help them better serve the community.

Crew members say they’re looking forward to having a station that they’re proud to work out of every day.

“We’re really excited to get this new facility, have the crew come in and be excited about a place where they work,” Coast Guard Station Tybee Chief Petty Officer Warren Wilson said.

Chief Petty Officer Wilson says their station has 40 active-duty crew members and 19 reservists. He says just last year they responded to more than 300 search and rescue cases and completed more than 500 recreational boardings.

“We’re doing that right now out of trailers, so imagine what we can do out of a fully functional station,” he said.

The new building will go from two stories to three and will sit here in the footprint of the old one.

“The previous facility was 40 years old, and it was starting to get outdated. We were putting a lot of band aids on to fix it,” Chief Petty Officer Wilson said.

The state-of-the-art facility will house groups like the Tybee Aids to Navigation team and will be equipped with things like new computer systems, maintenance areas and upgraded living quarters for the crew.

“It’s really crucial and critical to the safety of everybody that comes to the beach,” Tybee Island Fire Department Chief Jeremy Kendrick said.

This project, also a big benefit to Tybee Fire who partners with the Coast Guard.

“Any time a water rescue call goes out, if it’s further off the beach area or in the back waters the coast guard is getting notified,” Chief Kendrick said.

The facility is expected to be done by the spring of 2023.

Chief Petty Officer Wilson says they plan on inviting the community to come back here to tour it because it’s being paid for through taxpayer dollars.

Station Tybee is located north of Tybee lsland, and shares property with Fort Pulaski National Monument guarding the Savannah River entrance.

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