Tom Bamford, District Captain West

Thomas Bamford
District Captain West (DCAPT-W)

The Sector St. Petersburg United States Coast Guard Auxiliary area of responsibility operates from the Florida-Georgia line and the Fenholloway River in Northwest Florida to south of the Ten Thousand Islands in Southwest Florida, and from the interior of the state to the Gulf of Mexico. The Sector St. Petersburg Coast Guard Auxiliary team covers the western area of the U.S. Coast Guard District Seven, and this includes Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor, as well as rivers and lakes too numerous to mention. Within this expansive operational area of five divisions are nearly 1400 Auxiliarists who serve and support Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater (the largest single command in the U. S. Coast Guard), Sector St. Petersburg and five Coast Guard Stations along the Gulf of Mexico.

The Sector St. Petersburg Coast Guard Auxiliary component of on-the-water members are coxswains and crew members on Coast Guard Auxiliary facilities and those who augment as crew on U.S. Coast Guard vessels. The Sector team members serve as Auxiliary Air Pilots and air crew. Auxiliarists are Coast Guard watchstanders, radio operators, vessel inspectors, food service specialists, instructors, marine dealer visitors and keep tabs on aids to navigation. Auxiliary members also serve as part of Marine Safety operations as Pollution Responders. As the only volunteer organization in the Department of Homeland Security, the Auxiliary is the eyes and ears for the U. S. Coast Guard around and on the water.

Division 15 in northwest Florida has expertise in providing on the water support to Coast Guard Station Yankeetown whose area of responsibility includes long winding rivers and the treacherous waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The division’s geographical area includes large rural areas as well as towns and cities including Gainesville and Ocala. The Division Commander, Ray O’Connell, the prior Division Vice Commander now provides leadership in his first term, to Division 15’s five flotillas and nearly 170 active members.

Division 11 covers the area of responsibility of Coast Guard Station Sand Key locatedin Clearwater. This active division is focused on operations including training support to both Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater and Station Sand Key. Leslie Long who has recently served as the Division Vice Commander, is currently serving her first year as the Division Commander providing leadership to over 220 active members within six flotillas of Division 11.

Division 7 covers the Tampa-St Petersburg area including much of Tampa Bay. Terry Hershman, now in his second year as Division Commander, leads this dynamic division which assists Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg in Tampa Bay port security and is the lead division each year in providing on-the-water support for the Gasparilla Invasion of Tampa. The division has more than 300 active members in six flotillas.

Division 8, located South of Tampa Bay, includes Sarasota and serves the area of responsibility of Coast Guard Station Cortez. Division 8 reaches from South Tampa Bay on the north to Boca Grande Pass on the south. Braxton Ezell is the current Division Commander, now in his second term, and leads this division which excels in all areas of Recreational Boating Safety as well as operations. The Division has six flotillas and more than 250 active members.

Division 9, our largest and southern most Division, serves Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach, the Marine Safety Detachment Fort Myers, and the Southwest Florida boating public. Division 9 provides administrative support and training to nine flotillas located across a geographic area that extends from the Gulf of Mexico on the west to Lake Okeechobee on the east; and from Cape Haze on the north to the Ten Thousand Islands on the south. Doug Donovan, the former Division Vice Commander, is beginning his first year as Division Commander and is charged with the leadership of this large and active Division comprised of over 400 Auxiliarists.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, the uniformed civilian volunteer organization, is the non-military component of the United States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard Auxiliary was founded in 1939 by an Act of Congress as the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and re-designated the Coast Guard Auxiliary in 1941. The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary operate within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Please check the Division and Flotilla website links provided at this site for additional information.

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Sector St Petersburg Division Commanders – West