Namely, Petty Officer 1st Class Krystyna Duffy, received the surfman designation, the highest certification in US Coast Guard small boat operation, which allows rescue boat coxswains to operate in extreme weather and sea conditions.


Ms. Duffy is now qualified to take a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat out in 20-foot breaking surf with 30-foot seas and 50-knot winds, reaching the boat’s operational limits.

Krystyna Duffy said:

This is easily the best day of my career. The process was demanding and required a lot from me and my family. But I knew I wanted this, and I did what I had to do to get it done.

Chief Warrant Officer Beth Slade, the commanding officer of Station Golden Gate, presented Duffy’s award. In 2002, Ms. Slade became the first woman ever to earn the surfman qualification for the 47-foot Motor Lifeboat.

US Coast Guard Station Golden Gate is one of 21 surf stations, where surf conditions greater than eight feet occur 36 days or more each year. Heavy surf often raises search-and-rescue emergencies in the Bay Area and along the Northern California coastline.


The surfman title dates back more than 200 years to the US Life-Saving Service.