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Captain Tom Ottenwaelder
USCG 100-ton Master Inland; OUPV Near Costal
Like many kids that grow up near the water, I dreamt of becoming the captain of my own ship or a swashbuckling pirate. Becoming a pirate didn’t seem like a great idea at age 18, so I did the next best thing and enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard.
As an enlisted Machinery Technician, I served at two CG Small Boat Stations and two CG Cutters before eventually landing in the Chesapeake Bay at Marine Safety Office (MSO) Baltimore. I qualified as small boat engineer and coxswain, law enforcement boarding officer, and emergency medical technician. I went to college part-time before taking the next step in my career, attending Officer Candidate School in New London, CT. As a Junior Officer, I served at MSO Pittsburgh where I learned commercial vessel inspections, accident investigations, and commercial port operations. Following the attacks on 9/11, I was selected to stand-up the Coast Guard’s first domestic anti-terrorism team in Boston, MA. Later, I served as the supervisor for the Coast Guard’s Command Center Standardization Team, the Assistant Chief of the National Search & Rescue School in Yorktown, VA, and various Intelligence and Investigations assignments. My last assignment was at Coast Guard Headquarters where I piloted a desk as the Chief of the International and Domestic Preparedness Division in the office of Coast Guard Response Policy. It was a good job that allowed me to travel internationally, and stay connected with maritime operational planners around the globe.
After 29 years of active duty service, I retired from the Coast Guard during the summer of 2019 and settled in the Annapolis area with my lovely and patient wife, Patricia. We are avid recreational boaters on the Chesapeake Bay. I currently hold a 100GT Inland Master, OPUV near coastal and wiper certificates, which I used to deliver boats and provide on-water boater education.
I currently work full-time in Annapolis at Chesapeake Whalertowne selling the “Unsinkable Ledgend” Boston Whaler. The best part of this job is helping people select and buy the best boat for them and their family, and guiding new boaters along a safe path to enjoying life on the water.