Who is Your Hero?

Joel Aberbach has been a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary for 40 years, and his official title is Coast Guard Auxiliary District Seven Assistant District Staff Officer, Sea Partners and America’s Waterway Watch. Participating in numerous other Auxiliary missions from the very beginning, Joel discovered his calling in the Sea Partners program which is a part of the Auxiliary Marine Safety program. Sea Partners is an environmental education and outreach program focused on developing awareness of maritime pollution issues and marine environmental protection regulations. Joel started the program in the Miami-Dade community decades ago, and served as the marine safety officer at all levels of the Coast Guard Auxiliary organization.

In the last 40 years, Joel Aberbach has volunteered a conservative estimate of approximately 25,000 hours. These volunteer hours were spent informing and educating fellow Auxiliarists, the recreational boating public, and the general public, both adults and children, about protecting and preserving our marine environment. Joel Aberbach truly is a hero and is the District 7 Coast Guard Auxiliary’s nominee to be your YachtWorld hero.

How has your Nominees efforts made a difference for the better?

Striving to inform a new environmentally responsible generation, Joel traveled the state of Florida many times over to educate and assist numerous Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers in starting an active Sea Partners program in their geographical area. As a direct result of his efforts, he and his team reached over 10,000 youth in the Miami-Dade 2012 summer camps program and the Miami-Dade school career day programs. Due to lack of funding of summer camps in 2013, that figure was somewhat reduced this past year but remained strong. Joel not only personally attends many of these events and presentations, but he recruits and trains a Sea Partners team each year to participate.

In addition, he has personally rescued injured and ill turtles and other marine life from the bays and oceans. He helps to coordinate a proper newborn turtle release annually into the ocean, educating, informing, and thrilling attendees at this event.

Preventing pollution at the numerous marinas in Dade County, Joel works with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as well as other Auxiliary members to educate and assist marina management and staff in implementing all requirements of the Clean Marina Program which is a private partnership with strong federal and state support. Joel also coordinates and participates in the final inspections of the marinas for their Clean Marina designation.

For the International Coastal Cleanup Day held the third Saturday in September each year, Joel coordinates five cleanup sites in the Miami-Dade area. His volunteer activities include recruiting and training the leaders for each of the sites, ensuring promotion to all Coast Guard Auxiliary members in the county, and encouraging local merchants to donate volunteer water and lunch. To increase participation, he also acquires free access and parking for volunteers to go to Miami Sea Aquarium.

Throughout all of these activities, Joel continually sends educational updates to his extensive database of Auxiliarists who then forward the information to their own networks. The articles that Joel provides on local exotic species, changes in marine environmental laws, articles on garbage dumping in the oceans as it relates to the tourist trade, the local economy, and the health of swimmers and animals ensures that the community at large is kept apprised of important environmental information.

How will being recognized as a YachtWorld Hero further your nominee’s cause?

Recognizing Auxiliarist Joel Aberbach as a YachtWorld Hero would generate articles in The Miami Herald and other local publications affording much welcome publicity to school career days and summer camps, as well as reinforcing the importance of educating the public about protecting the marine environment. U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary public education courses emphasizing the need to protect our waterways and prevent damage and pollution to our marine environments would also be promoted. Further, new recruits to the Coast Guard Auxiliary would be attracted by the publicity of these important missions.

Please share any website or online articles about your nominee’s activities.

Joel Aberbach was nominated by John D. Tyson, District 7 Commodore, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, 7th District, in the category Defending our Oceans.

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