During the middle of last December, a U.S. Coast Guard mooring buoy was installed in Filucy Bay. According to Ltd. Fred Seaton of the U.S. Coast Guard’s 13th District headquarters in Seattle, the buoy was placed to provide a sheltered layover for cutters patrolling Puget Sound waters.
Petty Officer Brian Day, a member of the USCG cutter “Henry Blake,” the vessel that placed the buoy, said it is the most-southern mooring tie-off for vessels making the long trip from northern waters down to Olympia. Filucy Bay was chosen specifically because it is a protected body of water, and when used by a Coast Guard vessel, will make it possible for the crew to rest, and resume patrols, maintenance of public aids-to-navigation buoys and markers, or search and rescue operations on a following day without having to return to their port of origin first.
Seaton and Day confirmed the buoy could be used as a tie-up for homeland security purposes, or during law enforcement operations, although they both also stressed its primary purpose is simply to provide ease of operation for both vessel and crew.
In addition to this one, eight other USCG mooring buoys are currently established in Puget Sound (including two installed after Sept. 11, 2001), and provide more staying power than an anchor for either the 110-foot, 16 crew member cutters, or the smaller 87-foot, 10-crew member vessels patrolling inland waters. Seaton said the buoy is clearly marked “USCG” and is not a tie-off for public vessels of any kind, at any time.