Two U.S. Coast Guard stations that patrol waterways in and around New Jersey are set to close by 2021, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security announcement.
Stations Shark River and Salem join three others in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania that the federal government intends to consolidate with other stations.
“These stations have been identified because there are other units nearby capable of responding to cases in these areas, and because these five stations respond to a low number of cases,” the announcement states.
The planned closure is the result of a 2017 Government Accountability Office report that recommended the consolidation of 18 stations. The Coast Guard declined to consider the remainder of the stations due to what the announcement calls “environmental and operational factors.”
Despite the closure of the Shark River station — based in Avon-by-the-Sea, opened in 1871 and serving a 25-mile stretch along Monmouth County — and the Salem station, patrolling the Salem and Delaware rivers, the Coast Guard does not anticipate any adverse impact on its response capability.
“We expect an improvement to the proficiency of boat operators as well as a less complicated response system,” according to the announcement.
That’s because, officials say, many stations were established when boats lacked engines and were powered by oars and paddles.
With modern technology and boat operating speeds, significantly improved response times, and an overall reduction of rescue calls due to boating safety improvements, federal officials say many stations have become “redundant.”
Station Shark River is located seven miles north of Station Manasquan and 18 miles south of Station Sandy Hook.
The public can submit anonymous comments by using the code “USCG–2020–0042” on a portal at https://www.regulations.gov.