Roger Bencze,Auxiliary Sector Coordinator - Sector Key West

Roger Bencze
Auxiliary Sector Coordinator - Sector Key West

Key West was established as a Sector in August, 2004, and its responsibilities have grown ever since. Sector Key West is supported by one Division, comprised of five Flotillas, with a membership of 365 Auxiliarists. Our Area of Responsibility (AOR) reaches from Biscayne Bay and the Everglades to the north, the Dry Tortugas to the west, Cuba's waters to the south and the Bahamas to the east. All in all, the AOR encompasses over 55,000 square miles of very active water.

We enjoy twelve months a year of great weather, and the Sector is responsible for one of the most active areas of recreational and commercial boating populations in the country. We are home to an Aids to Navigation team and three small boat stations. A large portion of our responsibility lies within a National Marine Sanctuary, so we work closely with their personnel and those of the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to ensure the safety of our waters and the people who enjoy them or derive their livelihood from them.

Because we are home to some of the most popular boating waters in the country, our responsibilities include providing support for Sector's Search and Rescue operations of boaters and migrants, marine safety including hazards to navigation, and marine pollution in response to any major or minor oil spill.

The Response section has a very active Pollution Responder team to investigate pollution reports, relieving the Sector's members from driving many miles daily to evaluate such reports.

Our Prevention team comprises one of the most active Commercial Fishing Vessel Examination teams in the country, completing well over 200 safety exams last year. In addition, we have a good Uninspected Passenger Vessel group providing safety exams each year to charter fishing and diving operations.

The Augmentation and Food Services groups enjoy good working relationships with the small boat stations. The Food Services teams work regularly in the station galleys to plan, prepare, and serve meals. The Augmentation teams have replumbed and painted finger piers, remodeled galleys and recreation rooms, built barbeque pits and poured concrete for sidewalks.

Our Recreational Boating Services members provide educational outreach to all our schools as well as information booths at popular public events to advertise and promote our activities. National Safe Boating Week is a major opportunity for us to demonstrate to the public the many benefits of safety on the water.

While the air arm is not technically part of our Division in that it reports directly to District, still, the air teams respond directly to Sector Key West to supervise and report on a variety of missions, in addition to regular search and rescue.

It's the Coast Guard mission to keep the boating public safe and its the Auxiliary's job to be a force enhancer for that mission.

Roger Bencze
Auxiliary Sector Coordinator - Sector Key West