The United States Coast Guard embodies the saying, "always ready."
When forecasting natural disasters, however, those two words become much more than a motto -- they could mean the difference between life and death.
“With natural disasters, they’re unpredictable," said USCG Capt. Will Watson, commander, Sector New Orleans. "There’s uncertainty but what you have to do is lean back on your training.”
With U.S. Coast Guard stations across the country on standby, Watson said his teams are ready to help whenever and wherever they are needed.
“When the time comes, and you face something that you maybe weren’t otherwise prepared for, that’s when you exercise on-scene initiative,” he said. “You think critically. You think creatively. Remain adaptable and flexible and act.”
Southeast Louisiana locals are calling the U.S. Coast Guard, “heroes,” saying they saved more than lives during past natural disasters.
“One day, I got stuck in a boat and they come over here, five of them come here, and helped me out,” said local fisherman Tony Buffone, who lost his house during Hurricane Katrina -- one of the most deadly and expensive natural disasters to hit U.S. soil.
During recent storms, Buffone is now using lessons he learned from the U.S. Coast Guard.
“It’s good to have good Coast Guard,” he said. “We got a good Coast Guard crew right there.”
As the Gulf Coast deals with another massive hurricane, the U.S. Coast Guard is doing what it does best: staying “always ready”.
“We have resources, assets, people from all across the Coast Guard ready to support this fight,” Watson said. “And we’re ready; ready to respond to Hurricane Laura.”