Safety First!  
By Wayne Spivak - New York - USA

About the Author

Mr. Spivak joined the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary after spending seven years in the United States Power Squadrons (USPS). A primary catalyst for his joining were the events of September 11th, and the actions of the Coast Guard, and the Auxiliary compared with those of the Power Squadrons.

The Early Years: Mr. Spivak's love of water began at an early age, growing up in the Marine Park/Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn, New York; a block off the marshes and what was to become Gateway National Park. As an young child, he was taken to the ocean and bays of Brooklyn and Queens, to enjoy boating, fishing and the beaches. He also spent a large amount of time in upstate New York enjoying fishing (in and out of boats and canoes) on the many lakes that dot the scenic landscape of The Catskill Mountain area of New York State.

Public Service - Emergency Service: His twenty-eight (28) year involvement in emergency services and public service began after spending his formulative years in the Boy Scouts of America program - from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and finally Exploring (now called Venturers).

In the mid 70's, he became invovled with the Consumer Watchdog Committee, Inc., a not-for-profit group that compared local prices on consumer essentials. His role was the Coordinator of Volunteers.

His direct entry into public service as an adult began in the late 70's, when he joined his local Volunteer Ambulance Corps (VAC). During this period, Mr. Spivak became a NYS Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-A).

The involvement in the VAC led him to join New York City's Emergency Medical Service (since merged with the New York City Fire Department). While serving in NYC-EMS, he became a member of the elite Technical Services Division, which provided technical support at Multiple Casualty Incidents (MCI's) as well as Special Events.

Mr. Spivak held his certification as a NYS Emergency Medical Technician for approximately 15 years, even after he received injuries on-the-job. He was one of the many first responders who went to the February 26th, 1993 World Trade Center Bombing (the first bombing), where he assisted NYC-EMS at their Mobile Emergency Room Van (MERV), treating smoke inhalation victims, along with those who suffered cuts, lacerations and abrasions during the tumultuous exit from the building after the bombing. The MERV was stationed opposite the World Trade Center's North Tower entrance.

To this day, he is still has personal and business relationships with several NYC-EMS members. Some of these indivduals stayed in EMS even after their merger with the NYFD, others left to purse law enforcement, and/or emergency management careers. Several now own or are executives of national and internationally renown emergency services consulting firms. Mr. Spivak provides Information Technology consulting services to two nationally known Homeland Security and Emergency Consulting firms: Strategic Emergency Group and The Hauer Group.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary: As a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Auxiliarist Spivak, has qualified as an Instructor, as well as Vessel Safety Examiner and a Marine Dealer Visitor. He has served as a Flotilla and Division Staff Officer for the Visitor Program, as well as a Flotilla and Division Staff Officer (and Assistant District Staff Officer) for Computer Services, whose duties include being a unit Webmaster. He is a frequent lecturer at both Auxiliary District and National Conferences. He has also lectured at the Caribbean Search and Rescue Conference in 2004.

His operational involvement in Auxiliary activities is limited due to injuries sustained whiled working for NYC-EMS, but he does own and operate two Coast Guard Auxiliary Radio Facilities (land and land-mobile).

On a National level, he is a long-standing member of the National Press Corps and is the former Chief of External Communications Division (National Press Spokesperson) of the Auxiliary Public Affairs Department. He was formerly a Branch Chief in the National Training Department. In addition, other duties include being a Staff member of the Web Support Group, Office of the Chief Director of the Auxiliary, G-PCX, United States Coast Guard.

In other roles, he has served as the Division Chief, Communications for the International Affairs Directorate, a speaker at the 2004 Caribbean Search and Rescue Conference (CSAR), the Webmaster for the Coast Guard Auxiliary Association, Inc. (CGAuxA, Inc.), and part of the development team for the Operation Patriot Readiness web site and America's Waterway Watch (a major Coast Guard Maritime Domain Awareness {MDA} program).

He serves as a member of the staff of the Commander Coast Guard D7 Office of the Director (CCGD7oax) and Commander Coast Guard D1 Office of the Director, Southern Region (CCGD1oaxSR). He is also the chief designer, programmer and trainer behind the First Coast Guard District's AUXPAL project, currently on hiatus.

In 2001, Auxiliarist Spivak placed second in the United States Coast Guard JOC Alex Haley Award of Excellence in Journalism contest, for his contributions to the Public Affairs mission for the Coast Guard. The number of people who have read the articles contained on this website is inestimable. Article distribution included a mailing to over 5,000 members of the media, both industry and general. From statistics generated by this web site, it is estimated as of December 2005, 170,000 articles have been read. This does not count occurrences of re-publication in print media or on other websites. It is estimated that over 300 media outlets have used the articles contained on this website.

A constant contributor to Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety's Waypoints, as well as a frequent contributor to the American Boating Associations website and Beacon, Mr. Spivak's articles also have appeared regularly in The Power of Multihulls magazine, as well as Multihulls and South Florida Fishing magazine. His articles have also appeared in such diverse publications as SWAviator, the American Sailing Association, Boating Life Magazine, Coast Guard Magazine, Duck Works Magazine, Los Angeles Times, and Military.Com to name just a few.

Mr. Spivak is also the Chief Instructor and Program Manager for the Director of Auxiliary, First Southern Region's Small Boat Course for Local Law Enforcement (SBCLLE). This course has been held twice for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department (the 25th largest police force in the US). In addition, he is the Program Manager and Designer of two new programs, the first, which is still in the design/approval phase is Emergency Operation Center Liaison Officers (EOC-LO), and the second Auxiliary Alert Response Team (AART) is on hold.

Mr. Spivak is the recipient of the Meritorious Service Award, Auxiliary Commendation Award, three Auxiliary Achievement Awards (one with an "O" for Operations), four (4) Auxiliary Commandant Letter Of Commendation Awards for exceptional meritorious service and eight (8) Coast Guard Meritorious Team Awards. In addition, he has the Vessel Safety Check/Marine Dealer Service Award, two (2) Educational Service Awards and the Operations Service Award, ten (10) Sustained Service Awards (each representing 750 hours of volunteer service - he stopped counting and submitting hours after his 3rd year in the Auxiliary) and the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation. (more info about awards)

His emergency management education includes Incident Command Systems (ICS) 100 and 200, as well as National Incident Management System (NIMs) and National Response Plan (NRP), in addition to over 30 other Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Independent Study courses.

Mr. Spivak was the recipient of the prestigious 2004 Public Service Award from the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

In response to Hurricane Katrina and then Hurricane Rita, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and CGAuxA set-up a fund to aid Auxiliarists and other members of the Coast Guard Family. Mr. Spivak is a member of Operation Life Ring development team, where both his web and writing talents have enabled to some extent the fund to garner support from both the Coast Guard community and the general public.

Beginning in 2006, Mr, Spivak has taken on new duties as the Chief of Media Communications for the Coast Guard Auxiliary Association, Inc. His focus will be promoting the Association to both the industry and associated press on exactly what the Association is, and how by supporting the Association, you are directly supporting the activities of the USCG Auxiliary. The Association provides funding for many of the Auxiliary programs, as well as uniform articles and development and printing of educational material.

Recreational Boating Safety: He is still a member of USPS (where he was the Chief Information Officer 1998-2000) and is also a member of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS). In addition, he is a consultant with, and the Chief Information Officer for the United Safe Boating Institute and as well as a member of the National Safe Boating Council.

Other recreational boating activities include assisting the Association for Rescue at Sea, Inc. (AFRAS) redesign and maintain their web site, the Foundation for Coast Guard History, Inc. (FCGH), redesign their newsletter and provides technical assistance to a large number of other Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary programs (both officially and unofficially). He is also currently assisting the Liberty (AGTR5) Division of the Naval Sea Cadets with their public affairs. The Naval Sea Cadet Corps are a unit of the US Navy League, where Mr. Spivak is also a member (the photo above was taken before the NY Chapter of the Navy League's 100th Gala Dinner).

Other memberships include the Boating Writers International (where he has been a Judge in their annual writing contest [2004 + 2005]), the US Navy League, The US Naval Institute and the American Radio Relay League (he is a licensed Ham Radio Operator - General Class- KC2NJV and Volunteer Examiner).

Professional Life: When not volunteering on Recreational Boating issues, Mr. Spivak is the President of SBA * Consulting LTD, a management, financial and information systems consulting firm, and is also the Chief Financial Officer of dna Model Management (a client of SBA * Consulting), currently one of the top modeling management agencies in the world. Other notable clients (have or include) Wilhelmenia Models, Race Models, and Maryiln Models, Mutual of New York, and AT&T.

In June 2005, Mr. Spivak retired from Lehman College, City University of New York where he was an Adjunct Professor of Accounting for ten years.

An accomplished freelance writer, Mr. Spivak has hundreds of published articles on both recreational boating safety, homeland security, leadership, management, customer service, accounting and computer related topics as well as a contribution in WritersNet Anthology, Volume II, an anthology of stories, both fiction and non-fiction published by iUniverse in October 2002. His works have appeard in The CPA Journal, VAR Business, Network World, Law Technology Product News, and On the Internet (copies of many of the articles can be found here). He is currently a Contributing Editor to ServerPipeline.Com, a CMP Media (his association with CMP started in 1999) on-line e-zine.