On the Lake Tahoe City shore, strong, happy young guards men play volleyball in the Sierra sun.
Chief Daniel Polhemus knows why it is one of the most requested assignments in the nation. “Because of its location, the pristine beauty, the fresh water, the ability to recreate on the lake is unbelievable," he says.
Water skiing, kayaking, paddling and kite boarding also make for exciting rescues at Tahoe.
Coast Guard Station Lake Tahoe is one of the last legacy stations in the country. “Legacy” meaning pre-9-11 when the Coast Guard's primarily mission was rescuing people. For most stations the new mission is protection of critical assets, but at Tahoe, rescue is still the critical mission.
“Know and understand that the lake can get very dangerous. We get sudden storms, the wind blows frequently in the afternoon.” -- Chief Daniel Polhemus, U.S. Coast Guard
The 16-member crew runs an average of 150 search and rescue missions in just five summer months. And those rescues are about to get easier. Bigger boats coming next month will replace ones that are nearly a decade old.
“Which will allow us to have a little bit more crew comfort and also be able to encounter a little bit more larger of a sea and chop and fetch that the lake is notorious for,” he says.
Polhemus adds that the new boats will be easier to maintain, have better navigation systems improved communication and will be able to provide rescue anywhere on the 191-square-mile lake in 35 minutes or less.
The new boats will be 4 feet longer and will have improved communication and navigation systems, and they will be able to handle rougher conditions.
“My crew is very excited to have a new boat along with a new boat it is a little bit easier to upkeep and maintain and it is always nice to have the newest and latest and greatest equipment for my crew.” -- Polhemus