U.S. Coast Guard Station Juneau hosted the Buoy Tender Olympics Wednesday morning, a competition between boat crews and dive teams in Juneau for annual training.
Coast Guardsmen from the USCGS Henry Blake and Kukui, Army and Coast Guard divers, and Canadian Coast Guardsmen from the CCGS Bartlett competed in four teams over six events to win.
The games are intended to give servicemembers a chance to use the skills they’ve been practicing in a friendly competition. Winners get nameplates for plaques aboard their vessels, said Coast Guard Public Affairs Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Norcross. The winner of the overall competition gets bragging rights until they return next year. Last year’s winner was the crew of the USCGC Sycamore, Norcross said.
“It’s to test your ability, bring people together and encourage camaraderie,” said Lt. Stephanie Bugyis, a Coast Guard officer with the 17th District.
The games pitted the crew of three ships and the divers, who formed a fourth team, against each other.
“It’s a good time, all the time,” said Capt. Chmara Zbignew, commander of the CCGS Bartlett, a Canadian buoy tender homeported in Victoria, Canada.
Canadian Coast Guardsmen of the Bartlett took part in the games as one of the four teams.
Games included a survival suit relay swim in the harbor, to and from a boat 25 meters from the pier.
“It’s fantastic,” laughed Sgt. Kenneth Byrd, an Army diver. “The Coast Guard definitely had the advantage suiting up — I’ve never worn one of those before,” Byrd said, of the Coast Guard’s bright orange survival suits.
Other games included a chain drag across the pier, a rescue line tossing competition, and an obstacle course where the competitors would use the ship’s cranes to maneuver a bucket of water through an obstacle course laid out on the deck below, trying to both move quickly and spill as little water as possible.
Wednesday’s competitions ended with the tug of war and the “heat and beat.” The tug of war was an intense competition, with the combined Army-Coast Guard divers eventually beating the crew of the Kukui for first place.
The “heat and beat,” where competitors heat a rivet with a blowtorch before two other team members sledgehammer it into a shackle, was the final event of the morning. Servicemembers looked on as their teams competed aboard the decks of the Henry Blake and the Kukui, hammering the red-hot rivets so they couldn’t escape the shackles, racing for time.
The winners will be announced on Friday as the week’s training event comes to an end with the conclusion of a cooking competition, before the ships and servicemembers return to their home ports across the oceans.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.